By Mike Rice.
With the 2022/23 Premier League season coming to a close, there are a few players who have confirmed their exits as well as some with uncertain futures with contracts set to expire.
LA Galaxy won’t be shopping this summer due to their transfer restrictions, but a number of other Major League Soccer teams will be keeping an eye on some of the following players.
The Brazilian striker said an emotional goodbye to Anfield and will depart a much-loved player despite his limited minutes this season.
While he may not have been starting every week for Liverpool, he has the quality to continue to be an elite player elsewhere and MLS sides may be looking to convince him that a couple of seasons across the pond could be the right decision.
Firmino will require Designated Player (DP) money which limits some teams, but of those who have the space for him, St Louis City has made the most noise about being interested. They also make the most sense in style of play as well, a pressing frontline like in Liverpool who will look to get the ball forward with quick, direct passing.
The 30-year-old former Manchester United midfielder struggled this season with Nottingham Forrest and will leave the club this summer a free agent.
Despite this difficult season, the exciting number 10 could be a real benefit to an MLS side looking for a player to bring creativity as well as an ability to score goals.
With his large wages at Nottingham Forrest, the deal could be a little expensive for most and would require DP money, leaving each team who could benefit from him coming with a lot of “ifs”.
If St Louis misses out on the aforementioned Firmino, they may look to add a 10 behind João Klauss to link midfield and attack a little better, bit of a longshot though.
If Thiago Almada is to leave this summer and Atlanta United is confident about competing for an MLS Cup this season, then a short-term deal may be beneficial to both sides.
Lingard can show what he can do on the pitch once again, while Atlanta gives themselves time to locate their next young South American talent they will look to develop and sell on.
Another if, but should Lionel Messi decide to stay in Europe for another year, Lingard may be a potential target on a one-year deal with his links as a former Manchester United player like Phil Neville and David Beckham.
Since arriving in 2016 at West Ham United, Lanzini has had a few seasons where he was an absolute star. Sadly, for him, they haven’t been for a couple of years now, though the Argentine attacking midfielder has the quality to add creativity to a struggling offense in MLS.
Houston Dynamo would need to be very persuasive with regard to the type of contract they could offer him, but could they afford him, he would provide that bridge from midfield to attack they so badly need.
Artur, Hector Herrera, and Adalberto Carrasquilla are all good midfielders but aren’t No. 10s and Houston could really do with a player who can create as well as score in those positions.
Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2011 from Blackburn Rovers, he was praised by the former United manager as having such as incredible future ahead of him. It didn’t really work out that way.
Injuries have played their part and then bad form when he did get his chances in recent seasons. Jones managed just 161 minutes in the Premier League this season across four matches as well as a 30-minute cameo in the FA Cup.
He is a huge risk, but another former international, he has 27 caps for England, he needs to prove he can play to be able to get another contract.
Some teams may see him as a decent gamble to provide depth in the centre of defence in a busy second half to the season.
Austin FC is playing Alex Ring at centre-back frequently, maybe a chance to bring in a player like Jones could be tempting. The Portland Timbers is another team with a real lack of depth and a desire to make an impact on the playoffs though have the most goals conceded in the Western Conference after 15 games with 24 goals.
DC United could be a team to keep an eye on though with Jones being a former teammate of head coach Wayne Rooney. DC are playing to a quality which would see them as a playoff side come the end of the season, and Rooney has recently begun to favour a 3-5-2 formation. Jones would add depth and experience to this defence which is often performing above expectations on paper.