With the summer transfer window looming, teams around Major League Soccer will start making moves to bolster their rosters as they head into the second half of the season. For some, those upgrades are necessary to reinforce a roster ahead of a potential playoff run.
For Minnesota United, reinforcements are undoubtedly a necessity if the team truly wants to make waves in the playoffs come October. On top of the playoffs, the Loons are in pole position for a potential Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final run. They’re three games away from that point, with their next stop being a match against New Mexico United of the USL Championship on June 10.
Upgrades for the Loons could come in many different forms, depending on how you see their needs and financial power. We’re by no means front office personnel, but that doesn’t mean we won’t share our ideas for players the Loons should bring in.
Here’s our staff’s summer 2019 transfer wishlist:
Position: Left back
Club/Nationality: Certo Porteno (PAR) and Paraguay
The Case: This young fullback features blistering pace on the left flank while being dubbed one of the brightest talents Paraguay has to offer. My first glimpse of Arzamendia came in the Copa Libertadores, where his defensive composure caught my eye. As previously mentioned, the kid is fast, and I mean fast. He tracks back on defensive plays, keeping up with wingers while also going forward and helping out in the attacking third. Additionally, is crossing is magnificent. In a way, his play is similar to recent addition Romain Metanire, except for the fact that Arzamendia is only 21. Having a young defensive core is key to the future success of the club, and it’s fairly evident that at this point Eric Miller and Carter Manley aren’t very highly rated by Heath and Chase Gasper isn’t seen as MLS ready.
Arzamendia, in a sense, is a striker’s dream (attn: Angelo Rodriguez). He has a lethal left foot on both set pieces and crosses, while bringing some composure to the left flank of his side.
He is a Paraguay international, and has featured in the starting XI for both of the first two matches in this year’s Copa America Centenario for La Albiroja. -Jacob Schneider
Position: Central midfield
Club/Nationality: San Jose Earthquakes/USA
The Case: Jackson Yueill is a name a lot of Minnesota soccer fans recognize. He’s a Minnesota native, and grew up playing in Blaine for the Minnesota Thunder Academy (Mukwelle Akale was also on this very same team). The midfield prospect has broke through the starting XI under Matias Almeyda down in San Jose, showing how class he really is.
It’s no surprise to see a few midfielders on this wish list. There are a lot of quality players on the Loons roster in the midfield, but quality doesn’t always mean a perfect fit. How I see this play out, is that Yueill would take the starting spot of Schuller. I love Ras, he is a great tackler with good vision and work rates, however, he’s too like-for-like with Ozzie and Jan who are for sure starters. Simply put, there is no “creative” factor in this midfield with an attacking minded vision that translates to goals. Yueill is that guy.
Also, enjoy this long range screamer from him.
Adding a young midfielder who could be a rock in our starting XI for years to come who is also a local kid seems like a dream come true. And that’s probably true - Almeyda won’t want to lose a young prospect like Jackson. Persuading him to leave for Minnesota and come home may not be a difficult task, but agreeing on a fee while also adding depth at the back line (which is #1 priority) may prove to be difficult. - Jacob Schneider
Position: Central Midfield
Club/Nationality: Feyenoord (NED)/Peru
The Case: It’s no coincidence that some of the Loons’ best performances in recent memory have come during a deviation from the typical 4-2-3-1 that Heath rolls out. While the woes of Sporting KC and the rotation from Houston weakened the opponents’ sides, the Loons also rolled out a starting eleven devoid of some of the usual names. Darwin Quintero was forced wide where he was able to more rapidly support Angelo Rodriguez and the midfield trio offered more rigidity than the usual midfield two. Hassani Dotson never looked out of place and even notched himself an assist. With a full roster available a midfield trio could be composed of Ozzie Alonso, Jan Gregus, and a third player. Dotson’s skillset isn’t necessarily diverse enough from Gregus’ or Alonso’s and he has tremendous value as a utility player that locking him into one midfield role right now may not be the best use of his burgeoning talent. In steps Renato Tapia, a 23 year old Peruvian midfielder playing in Holland.
Tapia has a little of everything to bring to the Minnesota United’s midfield. He has the positional awareness and timing to hover around the top of the box and break up attacks, as well as the shiftiness in the open field required to advance the ball. Tapia would allow Alonso and Gregus to do what they were brought in to do, rather than asking them fill in for the deficiencies of an undermanned midfield. A Gregus/Alonso/Tapia midfield offers the requisite cover against the stronger teams in the league, but allow for more expansive play in transition. A fee of just over $3 million would allow Feyenoord to double their investment in three years and still leave room for the Loons to turn a profit if Tapia wants to return to Europe in a few years. -Zak Lippert
Position: Right winger, striker
Club/Nationality: Vitória de Guimarães (POR)/United States
The Case: Sound like a familiar name? If you attended the US Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup game at Allianz Field, you watched a tremendous performance from Boyd that saw him net two goals while playing extremely well on the right wing.
Just about all USMNT fans are just getting to know Boyd after he completed his one-time switch from New Zealand to the United States. His play is already speaking for itself, but his experience adds to the appeal. At just 24, he’s signed for clubs in New Zealand and Portugal, and he scored six times in fourteen appearances on loan in Turkey.
Here’s the thing: Minnesota doesn’t necessarily need another right winger — the left is more of a necessity. Boyd presents a tremendous value though: he’s young, and as a likely consistent starter for the USMNT going forward, he’s marketable. He also can play up top as a striker, a level of versatility that can never hurt.
If United were to move for Boyd, they would likely need to jettison one of the current players on the right wing. The current options there, however, present attractive trade offers to other teams, which could bring in a haul of allocation money for Boyd. Plus, if believing reports from that kind of anonymous “insider” Twitter account is your thing, Boyd is interested in an MLS move. More reputable people can say he won’t go to Minnesota, but a wishlist is a wishlist, right? -Eli Hoff
Position: Left back
Club/Nationality: Nice (FRA)/France
The Case: A fullback playing in France who’s named Romain? Sign me up.
Is he a left-sided version of Romain Metanire? Maybe he could be, but Perraud has real potential. He has yet to fit in with Nice’s first team in France and spent the 2018/19 season on loan with Paris FC (that’s not PSG, by the way), where he scored 5 times in 33 appearances. That sort of consistency could help buckle down United’s left side.
Will he spend the rest of his career in MLS? Probably not — he might be more of a loan candidate. But if he’s looking for first division playing time, why not look to the Loons?
He’s got plenty of experience with the French youth national teams, and while that doesn’t necessarily translate to the “real deal,” it’s certainly nothing to scoff at. -Eli Hoff
Position: Left Back
Club/Nationality: Atletico Nacional (COL)/Colombia
The Case: He has played for national team, appearing twice, still very young and would be something similar to Metanire but on the left. He also has two years of experience in Europe, which is a big plus. And we already know the front office likes to look at Colombia for players... -Gustavo Navarrete
Which of these players sound the most appealing? Where do you think Minnesota United should be looking during the secondary transfer window? Let us know in the comments section below!