Morning update: Hoppe to Hibs, several Americans don't move, and much more
February 01, 2023
THE TRANSFER WINDOW for most of the European leagues closed yesterday afternoon and the bigger stories were on who didn’t move as opposed to who did. On the domestic front, MLS preseason rolled on, and the Apple Season Pass officially hit the market.
For this January window, most of the biggest American transferred happened ahead of deadline day. Weston McKennie was the biggest transfer after he left Juventus to Leeds United. Paxten Aaronson joined Eintracht formally in January from Philadelphia. John Brooks moved from Benfica to Hoffenheim.
But deadline day is always a bit of a scramble. Let’s look at who moved.
Matthew Hoppe: the American attacker from California secured a loan yesterday from Middlesbrough to Hibernian in Scotland. Hoppe has played just 191 minutes of first-team league minutes since May 2021 after struggling at Mallorca and now Middlesbrough. Now he will head to Scotland on loan for a chance to see playing time. But fifth-place Hibs has center-forward Kevin Nisbet, a Scottish forward who has eight goals in his last eight games. How will Hoppe fit in? Will he play on the wing or as a second forward up top in a 4-4-2? It’s too early to say but Hoppe needs to play and if this loan doesn’t work out, he could be in a tough spot.
Gedion Zelalem: The former German and U.S. youth international had a tough run in MLS with Sporting Kansas City and NYCFC where he rarely played. Now he will head to FC Den Bosh which is in 17th place in the 20-team Eerste Divisie, the second tier in Holland. For Zelalem, he just needs to play as he enters his later twenties.
Who didn’t move:
It is important to note that a few of the players who did not move on deadline day can still move in the days and weeks ahead. Places like MLS, Turkey, Portugal, and various Scandinavian leagues are still open.
Konrad de la Fuente: the Miami-born winger had a miserable final week. He was linked with loans to AZ Alkmaar, Saint Etienne, and then Hull City on deadline day. Per reports he travelled to England to help seal the move. But, the French offices closed up an hour early prevented the loan from moving forward. Per these reports, Marseille and Olympiacos in Greece (where de la Fuente had been on loan) were negotiating the release of his loan late into Tuesday.
Here is why the deal for de la Fuente could not be completed.— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) February 1, 2023
- In my opinion, De la Fuente has been out of favor with Olympiacos all season. It should never have come down to the last minute. pic.twitter.com/pjZiZutkhg
De la Fuente is on the verge of a lost season after struggling for minutes for most of 2021/22 as well. The last time he was in-form was in Marseille’s 2021 preseason and start of the Ligue 1 season. Now, Marseille is going to either let de la Fuente stay at Olympiacos, recall him and let him train in France, or send him to one of the few leagues with a window still open. But regardless, de la Fuente is not in a good position now and is missing valuable time.
Johnny Cardoso: The Olympic-eligible central midfielder at Internacional had been linked with potential moves in Europe – Spezia, Monaco, and Roma (the latter two seemed ambitious based on 2022). But Cardoso did not move this window. Unlike de la Fuente, this isn’t a bad thing. He’s still young and is still getting regular minintues in Brazil’s Serie A. He’s not being set back riding the bench. The summer will remain another potential time for him to get sold.
Caden Clark: After his loan from Leipzig to the New York Red Bulls was not extended after the 2022 MLS season, Clark was once again property of RB Leipzig. There were reports that Leipzig was looking to loan him as he is not in the club’s immediate plans. With no move happening on January 31, Clark’s most likely destination to start 2022 is another loan in MLS – although probably somewhere else besides RBNY.
Richie Ledezma: The PSV midfielder has never really looked close to regular playing time since returning from a long-ACL injury in early 2022. He is another player who needs to play. A loan seemed like a real possibility for most of January but it didn’t happen by the end of the month. He’s another player who could use a loan elsewhere for 2022. He’s already 2022 with limited professional experience. It’s time to really get going.
Haji Wright: The Antalyaspor forward had a great calendar year in 2022 where he was one of the top goal scorers in Turkey. In January, he was linked with clubs in Serie A and the Premier League but he was injured the past two weeks. But Antalyaspor was asking for €10 million and that probably made some teams hesitant given his struggles in Germany and the Eredivisie earlier in his career. But there is still a chance he could move within Turkey and a moving to one of the big Istanbul clubs always seemed like one of the most likely destinations.
MLS saw no shortage of moves this past week despite January 31 not being a transfer deadline. Here are some of the bigger moves.
Carlos Gruezo: The Augsburg defensive midfielder will return to MLS on a designated player deal to the San Jose Earthquakes. This is his second stint in the league after playing with FC Dallas from 2016-2019. New San Jose manager Luchi Gonzalez worked for Dallas during those years and he knows him well. All that is very good as San Jose needs defensive strength up the middle of the field and Gruezo knows the league and the manager likes him. It is a good combination.
???????? to ????????.— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) February 1, 2023
Get to know Carlos Gruezo, the newest addition to the Quakes' roster.
Sergii Kryvtsov: Inter Miami signed Kryvtsov, 31, from Shakhtar Donetsk and the club is hoping he will bolster the backline. Miami is improving but this gives some needed attention to the backline.
Cristian Arango: LAFC’s top attacker Cristian Arango has left LAFC and will head to Pachuca. This is a huge loss for the champions after Arango scored 30 goals in 51 MLS games. It makes Pachuca much stronger in the CONCACAF Champions League and LAFC’s chances of competing in the tournament are hurt.
Gracias por todo, @Chichoarango. ???????? pic.twitter.com/olHkPyu8h6— LÁFC (@SomosLAFC) February 1, 2023
“We knew coming out of a successful 2022, we would need to make a major move, and likely a difficult decision ahead of roster compliance,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said. “We evaluated all possibilities and this transfer provides the needed resources and flexibility to continue our ambition of winning trophies. Whenever possible, we work with the player, as we did in this case upon receiving Chicho’s request. Chicho will forever remain an important part of LAFC, and we wish him and his family all the best in the next stage of his career at Pachuca.”
Patryk Klimala: The much troubled forward from Poland has left RBNY to sign with Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel. It opens the door for the Red Bulls to add a needed Dante Vanzeir. The Belgian attacker has put up 10 goals in 20 matches this season in Belgium with Union SG.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati have managed to hang onto Brenner – who was linked with a potential transfer. The Brazilian has been one of the key areas o Cincy’s turnaround.
Americans in action
There were a lot Americans in action on Tuesday and Wednesday
Yes, Folarin Balogun had a hat trick on Wednesday. But why should he give up his dreams of playing for England now? He’s the leading scorer in Ligue 1.
Auston Trusty: The former Philadelphia and Colorado central defender now on loan at Birmingham City via Arsenal scored an accidental own goal in the 100th minute which was the decisive moment in a 1-0 loss to Blackburn in the FA Cup on Tuesday.
Jordan Pefok: The DC-born center forward has not scored since September 18 in either the Bundesliga, Europa League, or the German Cup but his Union Berlin team defeated Wolfsburg 2-1 in the German Cup on Tuesday. Kevin Paredes played the final six minutes for Wolfsburg.
Ethan Horvath: the U.S. national team backup posted a cleansheet on Tuesday in a 1-0 win over Cardiff in the Championship. Horvath and Co. sit in fourth place in the league and are right in the middle of a promotional hunt. Horvath continues to have a good season.
John Brooks: the German-American started for Hoffenheim on Wednesday but saw his team bow out of the German Cup with a 3-1 loss to Leipzig. Justin Che also went the final 11 minutes for Hoffenheim in the loss in what was his first appearance in any competition for Hoffenheim this season. Che is trying to convince Hoffenheim to exercise the option to buy on his loan from Dallas. The loan runs through June. Che is going to need to perform well in meaningful minutes in the months ahead. It’s an important time for him.
Mark McKenzie: the Philadelphia Union product had a day off for the Belgian leaders Genk in a disappointing 1-1 draw with Eupen on Wednesday.
Erik Palmer-Brown: The central defender from Kansas City was on the wrong side of Troyes’ 4-1 loss to Toulouse on Wednesday.
Tim Weah: The U.S. international returned to his preferred wing position on Wednesday for Lille but his search for his first goal of the season continues following a 0-0 draw with Clermont Foot. Weah went 83 minutes and had three shots on goal, with another blocked. He is in the middle of the team’s offense but has been unlucky. He still has two assists this season and has shown his versatility.