There was a feeling of triumph when USMNT fans first heard that American players had landed at some of the biggest clubs in the world in 2020. It was something of an arrival, not just for the players themselves. , but for the US program as a whole. When you can place players at Barcelona and Juventus, you are a true footballing nation. It meant that everyone was paying attention to what is happening around here (although Sergiño Dest has never set foot on these shores, but come with me here). The sheer shock of Weston McKennie’s transfer to Juventus in the summer of 2020, which came out of nowhere, combined with Dest’s choice between Barcelona and Bayern Munich and the choice to rain fire on the same wing as Leo Messi … .
You can’t help but feel a little deflated, when you feel that both of you could be moving from every club to the January transfer window. dest he could reportedly get to experiment the other half of his 2020 enigma, headed to Munich. McKennie could be headed to the Spurs for real this time, after months of rumors. But that disappointment should only be the initial reflection, as any digging beneath the surface makes it clear that both would be very good moves for both players and, indirectly, for the national team.
First of all, both Juventus and Barcelona are in quite similar situations. Both saw the pandemic fully expose the financial mismanagement that had gone mad for years and paralyzed both clubs. This is why Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was one of the authors of the unfortunate and halfway through the Super League. Both pillars of world football have found themselves strapped for cash and unable to throw their nitrogen checkbook around to solve their problems. They found themselves like many clubs that they have trampled for most of their existence. They have to sell players to free up space on both the paycheck and transfer budget to get someone new in. They have to keep a balance. This is a fate worse than death for them, but that’s where they are.
Of course, things are more disastrous for Barcelona (who somehow still found the money for Fernan Torres this week, but forget it for now). They have to get rid of the salary and make money in transfers just to keep the lights on. And the players they would most like to relocate with cause a cod oil face to any club they are offered to.
Philippe Coutinho is paid in Cortez’s gold every month, yet he cannot take the field for the 17th straight season or anything else since he moved from Liverpool. And when he does, no one is too impressed to see him throw 12 25-yard shots in the concession stand per game. Ousmane Dembélé cannot stay healthy for more than a week. Everyone has forgotten who Clément Lenglet is. Everyone else on the Barça team are old legends (Piqué, Busquets, Alba) who aren’t worth much to anyone else, or the kids around whom Barcelona would like to build their next team. Even if they were on sale for some of them, they are not worth the transfer prices Barça needs for barely playing.
In Dest, Barca have a young player who has an established reputation (i.e. a price) that other teams want. More importantly, they want other great teams like Bayern Munich. You can get real money for him. He is one of the few players for whom Barca can get real money. And frankly, Monaco are in a much better place for him to grow and play great games than Barça, and he probably will be for the next season or two. For reference, see Davies, Alphonso. Julian Nagelsmann is one of the hottest young managers on the planet right now and has helped maintain the pipeline from RB Leipzig to … well, Munich. We don’t know that Xavi isn’t an idiot yet. The thoughts of Dest and Davies terrorizing the teams on both flanks make everyone cringe. There is a pre-established style and structure at Bayern. There isn’t much at Barca. Everything is fine.
As for McKennie, it’s kind of the same story. The Juventus squad has aged and needs to be changed. It would be great if McKennie were part of that transformation into Juve’s next big team, but I’m also running out of options. Frederico Chiesa is probably a $ 100 million player, and there aren’t many teams that can afford it. Matthijs de Ligt is more or less the same story, and both will be central to whatever Juve becomes in the coming seasons. McKennie is more than young enough to still be fit, he doesn’t have a salary that lands like a skyscraper dropped every month for clubs, and he’s desirable. He too is not fundamental for Juve.
And McKennie needs to be shaped. It is difficult to think of a better coach than Antonio Conte, if these rumors about Tottenham were to materialize. McKennie still has a few headless runs to his game, and he’s kind of a weird, out-of-the-box midfielder. Conte will drill him so that most of that run makes sense and will likely force him to be better at the ball. Or it will be threatened with murder. And running late to the area behind Kane and Son leads to a lot of space and a lot of possibilities. Also, the Premier League is a step up from Serie A. As strange as it may sound, moving from Juventus to Spurs is probably the right move for where McKennie is in his career.
We will have more Americans on Asgard’s soccer resident squads. Next time they will be indispensable. But sometimes, club names hide what those clubs actually are at the moment. Not all that glitters is gold, and Dest and McKennie may well find out in the coming weeks. And they will be better for it.