Welcome to the Rumor Radar, a weekly column by Philly Football Daily MLS contributor, Noah Barnes. Each week, Barnes breaks down the top MLS transfer rumors of the week.
Welcome back to the Rumor Radar.
Transfer talk was mum during last week’s international break. Now Major League Soccer is back, and so are the rumors!
LA Galaxy are still recovering from the arrival of zLAtan while other clubs around the league have been doing some international shopping of their own, this week.
Portuguese starlet Andre Horta landed with the other club in Los Angeles, LAFC, while Minnesota United added Columbian winger Darwin Quintero, a player whose signature several MLS clubs have raced to land over the years.
Putting completed transfers aside, there are still plenty of rumors to discuss this week. So let’s kick off, shall we?
Alex Song — New York Red Bulls
This season, the New York Red Bulls are out to prove The Big Apple still belongs to them, despite the recent dominance of rival New York City Football Club, which has threatened their stature in the city.
NYRB are reportedly looking to strengthen their squad with a player that Philly Football Daily Editor-in-Chief Jason Hannigan is surely very familiar with.
According to Kristian Dyer and Metro, former Arsenal holding midfielder Alex Song is currently training with the Red Bulls. Now, while Dyer’s report suggests the trial is strictly for “training purposes,” it cannot be ruled out that Song impresses enough to earn a contract.
Song is out of contract, at the moment, and is reportedly training with the New Jersey outfit solely for the purpose of “getting fit.”
Song is best known for his stint in North London, however, the Cameroonian also featured at one of Europe’s top sides, FC Barcelona. The 30-year-old did not impress at the latter club, and has found himself plying his trade in the Russian Premier League since 2016.
Playing for Rubin Kazan, the player has featured in 21 games, notching only one goal and zero assists. While the player has never been the biggest offensive threat, these numbers are somewhat disappointing, even for a central midfieder.
In the latter stages of his career, the Cameroonian international has taken up a deeper role in the midfield, and this is a position that many clubs in the MLS would love to get some depth at.
For now, Song is merely a trainee with the Red Bulls, but I would not be surprised if a player with his pedigree was penned to a permanent contract soon.
Alexi Gomez — Minnesota United
Despite the recent signing of Darwin Quintero, it appears United are not done this transfer window.
Quintero was brought in to bolster MNUFC’s attacking front, but according to reports, Peruvian international Alexi Gomez could be brought in to help strengthen the midfield. According to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Loons could be close to sealing the deal for the youngster.
Gomez can augment the midfield in a number of ways. He is naturally a left-sided midfielder, but can just as easily slot into the center of the park. Gomez is also capable of playing up top, as a winger if need be.
Reportedly, the Loons are not seeking a permanent deal for Gomez, opting instead to try and loan him away from current club Universitario in Peru. If a permanent transfer is in the cards, it would reportedly cost Minnesota a feasable $1 million.
Greder says there is more than a “50 percent chance” that the 25-year-old ends up playing in MLS this season, and sources around United seem confident a deal will be finalized.
If it does get done, Gomez will surely be a welcomed addition to the club for his versatility alone.
Tomane — Sporting KC
According to Portuguese news outlet A Bola, young striker Tomane could fancy a move abroad to MLS.
At the moment, there are very few reports linking Tomane to Sporting Kansas City being the frontrunner to sign him, as it has merely been reported the player is being “pursued heavily” by an unnamed MLS side.
Tomane, who’s real name is Antonio Manuel Fernandes Mendes, currently plays for C.D. Tondela in the Portuguese first division. He has posted six goals and seven assists over 25 games this season. T
Tomane functions best as a pure No. 9, but can drop even deeper as a second, withdrawn striker if necessary.
Now, while the 25-year-old’s stats are far from outstanding for a forward, Tomane is valued at around $1 million. Nevertheless, according to The Blue Testament, Tomane is the type of player that Sporting manager Peter Vermes has been known to go after.
Vermes has been able to get the best out of players that have not been huge names upon their arrival, especially in the Portuguese league. Gerso Fernandes is a prime example of this, as the system in Portugal closely mimics Sporting’s playing style.
Could Tomane be the next Portuguese gem to arrive in Kansas City, or is the unnamed club pursuing the player somewhere else in the country? Only time will tell.
Achraf Lazaar — MLS
With the World Cup approaching in just over two months, there are many players making a final push to join their international side ahead of the tournament. One of those players is Moroccan international Achraf Lazaar.
Lazaar is currently on loan from parent club Newcastle United in England to Benevento in Serie A, the Italian first division.
According to ChronicleLive in England, Lazaar is unhappy with his loan spell so far, and hopes to make a move abroad to revive his career and hopefully state his case for the Moroccan World Cup squad. In the player’s eyes, the ideal move is to MLS.
Allegedly, and this comes from the player himself, there are three MLS clubs looking at him, though these clubs remain unnamed. Lazaar has said nothing of who these clubs are, though he has said that “red tape” could provide an obstacle for any club interested in his services.
Lazaar would occupy an international spot in an MLS roster, so this could hint that the clubs looking into his services may not have a spot readily available.
Another hint at who might sign Lazaar is his position.
The 26-year-old can play as either an outside back or midfielder, and prefers to ply his trade on the left side of the pitch. Thus the clubs looking to sign the Moroccan would be the ones in need of depth in those areas.
Looking at the teams who have a lack of depth or have struggled defensively on the left side of the pitch this season, Minnesota United , DC United, the Philadelphia Union, or even Atlanta United all come to mind.
Where do you think he will end up, if at all? Tweet at me, and let me know.
Check back on Monday for the latest edition of the Rumor Radar. In the meantime, connect and follow Noah on Twitter. Cheers.