Brenner – FC Cincinnati
With 22 goals in 38 appearances for Sao Paulo last season, Brenner comes to Cincinnati in a landmark deal of around $15m.
This move could be seen as a huge gamble for both player and club. Cincy has paid big money to convince Brenner to ignore interest from elsewhere and join a relatively young, struggling franchise. They have been through four coaches in two seasons and current head coach, Jaap Stam, will know his side needs to improve in the creation of chances.
It’s all well and good bringing in a forward like Brenner, but he needs the service, which has been limited throughout their two full seasons in the MLS.
In their expansion season, they managed 31 goals in 34 matches; and last season only 12 goals in 23 games.
This is the gamble Brenner is taking; will he still be able to score the goals that will keep clubs interested in Europe?
Stuart Findlay – Philadelphia Union
The Union lost Brendan Aaronson and Mark McKenzie this offseason as both departed for Europe. Stuart Findlay is the man who has been brought in to replace McKenzie in the centre of defence, arriving from Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock.
A left-footed player, comfortable with the ball at his feet is what was needed in Philadelphia, with other first-team centre backs predominantly right-footed. Findlay has shown an ability to hit long, accurate passes as well as bring the ball out from the back. He is joining a side that like to play quick one or two-touch passing to draw the opposition out.
He will need to improve in his one on one defending, especially in a high pressing side. Around the box he is strong in the air and reads the game well to be in the right place at the right time. He fits the profile of what The Union needed and from a strong season in the SPL he will be confident in adapting the MLS for 2021.
Santiago Sosa – Atlanta United
Gabriel Heinze has taken over at Atlanta who majorly underperformed last season. They want to play an aggressive, attack-minded style of football, and in Sosa, Heinze will look to bring this to the centre of his midfield.
Sosa is a tenacious and aggressive player when out of possession whilst having the ability to build attacks with a good range of passing. 21-year-old Sosa still has a lot to learn, having struggled to make a full breakthrough into the River Plate side.
The Argentina U20 international has all the potential to be a key player in Heinze’s side who, with an average of 62 recoveries per 90 was the lowest in the MLS last season. With the ball, Atlanta had the 4th highest ball possession in the MLS with 56% though only managed 23 goals in 23 games.
There will be a lot of expectation from Sosa to add speed and aggression to the centre of the midfield off the ball, as well as improve their play in transition and create more opportunities for the forwards.
Corey Baird – LAFC
Los Angeles FC are full of talent in the forward line, with Carlos Vela, Brian Rodriguez and Diego Rossi they have three of the biggest stars in their positions in MLS.
Baird comes into this side with more experience than Rodriguez and Rossi, having played three seasons at Real Salt Lake. This also gives LAFC some protection with suitors for Rodriguez and Rossi keen on offering them opportunities in Europe.
Baird’s stats dipped slightly in 2020 with only two goals and three assists, though LAFC see the potential quality he could bring when surrounded by more attack-minded players.
He has explosive pace, good composure in one on one situations, and can play across the forward line in any position.
Baird will look to contribute well to a side that will be hard for defences to manage, that will attack at pace, move the ball quickly, and create overloads in wide areas.
Jader Obrian – FC Dallas
The diminutive winger from Colombia has been brought into a side that works hard on transitions and focuses a lot of its play on the speed of its counter attacks.
— World Football Index (@WorldFootballi) December 23, 2020
Obrian has all the attributes to fit right into the FC Dallas system and torment full-backs across MLS. With an explosive change of pace, he will be a threat in through balls in behind the defence on the right.
He is capable of staying wide and running at full-backs and has good vision for crosses and cutbacks. He is also adept at coming off the wing and creating opportunities for himself. In the past two seasons at Rionegro Aguilas he has 27 goals.
Luchi Gonzalez will be hoping his new winger will be able to settle quickly and make an immediate impact in a side that lacks a consistent goal scorer, with last season’s top scorer Jara, having seven goals in 21 games.