Has there ever been a better time to be an American soccer fan? Although they played their final game of the World Cup against Belgium on Tuesday, the groundswell of positivity surrounding the team and their performances in Brazil has led to a raft of rumours popping up here and there linking American players not already based in Europe with transfers to the continent's big leagues.
The rumours seem more borne from excitement than reality, but that hasn’t stopped the spread of stories involving DeAndre Yedlin allegedly being given a pre-season trial at Liverpool. There were lots of talking points from the USA v. Belgium match, and Yedlin's introduction after a half hour due to a Fabian Johnson injury was one of them. Tenuous "reports from America" are cited as the source of this particular theory, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Yedlin currently plies his trade for Seattle Sounders and it's not unheard of for MLS players to spend some time training with or going on loan to European sides during the off-season to maintain fitness. A pre-season trial when MLS is in full swing and Seattle are in first place in the Western Conference seems like an odd choice, but players have made stranger decisions before.
Aside from all that, though, is that even if the pre-season trial turns out to be legitimate — unlikely, at this point, but let's not rule it out — the odds that anything would come of it for Yedlin and Liverpool is slim at best purely for logistical reasons. Our very own Conor Dowley provided some insight in various comments sections yesterday as to why this would be the case.
I'd say it's just standard World Cup rumor mongering. As things stand, Yedlin wouldn’t get an English work permit*. Now, if Liverpool is very confident that he’ll eventually qualify for one by the 75% of competitive internationals over two years rule, then a buy and loan back to MLS in the meantime could make sense. But I wouldn’t hold your breath on such a deal coming to fruition.
*Some with more knowledge of the Sounders than I believe he may be able to get a Latvian passport (Yedlin is partly of Latvian descent), which would allow him to get his work permit via EU regulations.
As to the cost… I’d imagine we’re talking at least $7 million, if not closer to $10 million (without looking up current exchange rates, I want to say that’s around 4-6.5 million pounds sterling). Again, I love Yedlin, but I’m not sure I love him enough to put that much down on a very raw player, potential or no.
For American fans, this might be one to store in your wishful thinking jar for now. For everyone else, chalk this up to linking a player with any and every possible transfer based on a positive showing during an important World Cup match.