It's never TOO early to talk about possible transfers. Heck, ESPN FC dedicates an entire tab on their homepage, so why can't we join in on the fun? Like any good club, Minnesota United will likely be looking to strengthen it's roster this summer. The front office appears ready to make deals that will make an immediate impact, (Saied and Gatt for Cronin and Burch) so let's start a few rumors and talk about a few guys that might make sense to see suit up for the Loons come this summer.
The South Carolina native currently plays for Dutch side FC Groningen, but it appears it won't be for much longer. Reports earlier this spring suggest the club isn't convinced the 21-year-old has what it takes to be starter in the near future. A off-and-on representative of the U-20 U-23 in the US youth national setup, Payne could be a perfect fit for the Loons. Primarily playing at fullback, the defender comes with the added bonus of not costing the MNUFC an international roster spot. With the Loons actively looking to strengthen their backline, Payne could be a heralded signing for giving MNUFC added depth and a high quality youngster to build around.
Rumors surround the former USMNT international's fate at Championship side Nottingham Forest. If Forest doesn't extend him, the 28-year-old could be for MNUFC what Spector is for Orlando City. We'll have to wait an see what unfolds surrounding Forest and their handling of Lichaj, but if he comes available, defenders with international caps are always in style at MNUFC
The off-and-on USMNT international, is another target who plys his trade in the Championship. Williams, the subject of a pretty spectatcular April fools prank, is a big uncertain for Reading FC going forward. He's one of the largest earners on the team, and although they're in the midst of a fight for promotion, and despite his desire to play in the Premier League, Reading might let him walk regardless. If this all transpires, it leaves Williams in an interesting situation. Does he float around Europe seeing if a top-tier club will offer the 27-year-old a spot, or does he move to the MLS, likely on DP sized deal? MNUFC should keep tabs on situation, and perhaps make a move if the price is right.
It's easy to forget the John Alvbage is just on loan, and with Shuttlesworth seemingly prying the starting job from him, it is not outrageous to say that MNUFC might just let his time here expire. That leaves the Loons with a familiar goalie shortage. With Alvbage's absence an international roster spot opens up. Enter Esteban. The 27-year-old Costa Rican international is playing backup for Turkish side Trabzonspor. It appears the Turkish club has been unable to come to terms with Esteban about an extension, and the club is now probing for other options. With two other Costa Ricans on the roster, and the keeper position not firmly in anyone's possesion, MNUFC could make a strong case to bring him stateside.
Again, with the goalie thing. The 28-year-old former USMNT international got some spotlight when he a got a look from former USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann. It's unknown when his contract is set to expire (the Liga MX transfer dealings are insane), and it's difficult to guage how invested Leon FC are in him, since he's been in and out of the starting eleven for years. MNUFC and Leon have had relations in the past, so familiarity could be a useful tool. Another good pitch could be made to get him here if Leon doesn't ask for too much in return.
The embattled Barcelona defender is in desperate need of a change. He was left out of the squad for Champions League tilt against Juve, and was recently scapegoated when Barca lost to Malaga this spring. The 33-year-old frenchman has likely seen his last days at the catalan giants, but where will the former French international land. Considering his age and lack of recent form, it's not likely many high profile clubs will come asking around about Mathieu, and it's likely Barca will sell him away for a cut price. His playing days certainly aren't over. In the past he has displayed a terrific combination of size and speed, when healthy. Plus with his experience, versatility, and stature, the 6'4" Mathieu could be a nightmare for opposing MLS strikers. If the Loons front office are willing to give a fresh start to a former mega-club rotation player, Mathieu deserves a long look.
The off-contract attacker is likely done in Hyundai A-League, Austrailia's top league. It apperas that the Brisbane Roar attacker is attracting a lot of attention, especially with City Football Group. The rumor is that the 23-year-old striker might sign with the global football brand, and be loaned back to rival Melbourne City. These rumors are being played down, but it's unlikely he'll remain that way for long. With 20 goals in 27 appearances, he's clearly the cream of the crop in the A-League. Taking a leap forward into european competition might find him on loan for awhile if he fails to impress, however the MLS might be the perfect landing spot for the striker's budding career. MNUFC have a lot of attackers, but Maclaren has the speed and skill to play as an inverted winger, or prehaps a trailing striker cleaning up rebounds with his clever movement and nose for the goal. Manager Heath would certainly find a way to utilize him.
3 Defenders, 2 Goalies, 1 Midfielder, and 1 Attacker. Not a bad spread, but if you have any other players you think are worth mentioning, or if any of these guys seem like silly transfer targets, sound off.