It’s been a busy two weeks in the USMNT transfer world, even if no moves have been confirmed since Zack Steffen’s deal with Manchester City was made official. In the biggest news, it looks all but certain that Christian Pulisic will be leaving Borussia Dortmund in 2019, with a handful of reliable outlets reporting that he’s heading to Chelsea, most likely in the summer. There are still whispers of interest from Arsenal and Liverpool, but Chelsea looks the most likely destination at this point. Elsewhere, Tim Weah has announced on his social media platforms that he’s leaving PSG on loan for the rest of the season. It’s not certain where he’s heading, but Celtic is emerging as the most likely landing spot. There are also tidbits about a few domestic-based players who could be moving overseas this month. Speaking of Celtic, their historic rivals Rangers took a pair of Americans on trial over the past few weeks, and they reportedly have extended contract offers to both. The players are both from the Chicago Fire: highly-touted prospect Andrew Gutman, who has yet to play for the MLS side and just finished up an excellent college career at Indiana, and Matt Polster, a 25-year-old defender with one USMNT appearance. It’s still unclear whether the pair will in fact move, but it’s certainly a possibility. Lastly, another defender who has broken into the USMNT, New York Red Bulls’ Aaron Long, is a target of a handful of European sides, with Eintracht Frankfurt and a few other Bundesliga sides interested. His status will be something to watch after a 2018 in which he made his first two national team appearances.
Tim Ream (Fulham)
Ream took up his normal position for Fulham three times as the bottom side got a pair of draws, against Newcastle and Wolverhampton, and a win over Huddersfield. Even better, Fulham produced a pair of clean sheets, which is a good sign for Ream and new manager Claudio Ranieri. However, the Cottagers gave up a late equalizer to Wolves in what could have
Danny Williams (Huddersfield)
Williams is sidelined for 2-3 months after reaggravating the ankle injury that caused him to miss much of the first half of the season.
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Yedlin was a late sub in a goalless draw with Fulham before going 90 minutes in a 4-0 loss to Liverpool and a 1-1 draw with Watford during the busy stretch. Yedlin wasn’t responsible for any of the five goals shipped in the two matches he started, and he actually didn’t play too badly against Liverpool. The right back almost provided a tantalizing assist against the Reds, but the ensuing header went just wide. Yedlin had four tackles against Watford, but also picked up a yellow card.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
After being an unused sub against Hull, Carter-Vickers started and went the distance against Aston Villa, a 1-0 loss, and Wigan, a 2-2 draw. CCV was pretty poor across the matches in critical moments. First, against Aston Villa, he was out-jumped at the back post for the game’s only goal. Then, his failed clearance allowed Wigan to pounce on a ball in the box, leading to a penalty and their first goal. Later, Carter-Vickers was caught stagnant and was boxed out on a corner kick for Wigan’s second. The bright spot is that CCV passed at over a 90 percent clip in both games, but that is certainly overshadowed by a pair of poor defensive outings.
Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic, on loan from Everton)
Robinson is expected to be out until late January or early February after undergoing ankle surgery.
John Anthony Brooks (Wolfsburg)
Unsurprisingly, Brooks went the distance in each of Wolfsburg’s final two games before the winter break, helping them to a 2-0 win over Stuttgart and a 3-2 victory over Augsburg. In the former, he was his usual dominant defensive self with nine clearances, while in the latter, he recorded an assist, flicking on a corner (LINK) that was tapped in at the back post for the opening goal. In the midst of a six-game unbeaten run, Wolfsburg sit in fifth place midway through the campaign, just three points back of a Champions League spot.
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Chandler is expected to miss around six months after undergoing knee surgery. He isn’t slated to return until at least the new year. Eintracht sit in sixth place at the break.
Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen)
Johannsson will be out around three months after having ankle surgery in mid-November. With his contract set to expire in the summer, the striker’s future is very much in doubt. Bremen are in 10th place in the Bundesliga table.
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
The Josh Sargent hype train is only picking up speed heading into 2019. After serving as an unused substitute again in a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim, the young striker earned his third appearance off the bench in Bremen’s final game before the break, coming on in the 66th minute with his side down 2-0 to RB Leipzig. Ten minutes later, after Max Kruse had cut the deficit to one, Sargent notched his second senior goal, holding the ball up well in the midfield before sprinting into the box and slotting home a very confident left-footed finish to equalize. It was a fantastic striker’s goal, and it showed just why so many American fans are so optimistic about the 18-year-old’s future. Bremen would concede late and lose 3-2, but Sargent now has two goals in 45 minutes of Bundesliga play. With a strong showing in training sessions over the break, the youngster could work his way into the Werder lineup on a consistent basis during the second half of the season.
Johnson started twice at right back for Gladbach in their two games before the break, going 75 minutes in a 2-0 win over Nurnberg and all 90 in a 2-1 loss to Dortmund. He was reasonably quiet in both, recording a tackle in each without being involved in any of the goals. Still, that the 31-year-old has worked his way back into the starting XI can only be viewed as a positive. Gladbach are in third place at the break, so Johnson could well have some meaningful football to play in the coming months.
Weston McKennie (Schalke)
McKennie played in each of Schalke’s final two games before the winter break, starting in a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen and coming off the bench in a 3-1 win over Stuttgart. In the former, he played as part of a two-man front line and was very effective, recording an assist by winning a header from a corner kick that a teammate tapped in (much more on that momentarily). He recorded eight aerial wins, four shots, and three dribbles in that contest, though Schake were defeated. Against Stuttgart, McKennie came into the midfield as a 59th minute substitute and created a couple of really good opportunities for teammates while also recording another five aerial wins and three shots. He also earned yellow cards in both fixtures. It hasn’t been an outstanding season so far for the 20-year-old, but he’s certainly making some waves with his recent play at the very least.
Haji Wright (Schalke)
So that assist McKennie recorded against Leverkusen? Finished off by none other than Wright, who did well to adjust his foot as the ball was in the air and knock it over the line for his first Schalke goal. He wasn’t all that effective otherwise in the contest, coming off just 10 minutes into the second half with Schalke chasing a goal, but it’s a huge moment for the 20-year-old nonetheless. He was then an 87th-minute substitute against Stuttgart. His breakout late in 2018 was a welcome surprise for many USMNT followers, and there will be many eyes focused on what comes next in 2019 for the young striker.
Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Dusseldorf finished 2018 in style, beating Dortmund 2-1 and Hannover 1-0, but Morales was nowhere to be found in the 18-man squad for either. There haven’t been any new tidbits about a possible move away from the club in the winter window, but a transfer certainly seems like a possibility. We will continue to monitor.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Speaking of transfers that could become reality, as mentioned above, Pulisic looks to be on his way to Chelsea at some point in 2019, although it’s still uncertain as to when he’ll make that move. For now, his focus remains in Dortmund, for whom he started once (in the aforementioned loss to Dusseldorf) and was an unused sub once, in the win over Gladbach. He struggled against Dusseldorf, losing possession a game-high 10 times, but he also created some havoc in the opposition third by at least trying to get forward and threaten, recording four successful take-ons. Still, the talk around Pulisic continues to grow louder, and it is primarily focused on where he’ll be playing his club football in 2019. Watch this space for further details when they become available.
Timothy Tillman (FC Nurnberg, on loan from Bayern Munich)
Tillman still hasn’t made a Nurnberg 18-man squad this season, and Nurnberg II are on winter break until early March. There are some whispers that he could head back to Munich in the winter, but those are currently unconfirmed. Once again, we’ll be monitoring the situation.
Bobby Wood (Hannover, on loan from Hamburg)
Wood started each of Hannover’s final two games of 2018, being subbed off in stoppage time of a 1-1 draw with Freiburg before going the distance in the 1-0 loss to Dusseldorf. He recorded two shots in each fixture, but the most notable moment he had in either was being denied in a one-on-one against Freiburg. His holdup play remains an asset, but Wood’s goalscoring prowess is certainly lacking at the moment as he has scored just six club goals in 35 appearances over the past two seasons.
Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth)
Green logged 90 minutes in a goalless draw with Sandhausen to send Greuther into the 2. Bundesliga winter break. He did little to fill the stat sheet besides record three dribbles and passed at a mediocre 65 percent clip.
Matt Miazga (Nantes, on loan from Chelsea)
Mizaga was not involved in Nantes’ Coupe de la Ligue loss to Rennes and was an unused sub against PSG in league play on the weekend. With 2018 coming to a close, it’s now decision time for Chelsea as to whether or not to recall the center back from what has been an unfortunately poor loan.
Jordan Siebatcheu (Rennes)
Siebatcheu was involved the Rennes’ League Cup win, coming on with 20 minutes to play and the score tied 1-1 before his side found a late winner. He wasn’t involved in that goal, but Siebatcheu would go on to have a massive game against Nimes, assisting on his side’s second goal while scoring its third and fourth en route to a 4-0 win. None of the three involvements were that pretty, with the assist being a simple layoff and both goals coming via close range tap-ins, but it’s a fantastically productive day nonetheless for the the 22-year-old. In five starts and seven substitute
Timothy Weah (PSG)
Weah remains squarely outside of the PSG squad, but it looks almost certain now that he will head out on loan in January, with Scottish Champions Celtic being the probable destination. It’s a necessary move for the youngster, who is lacking first-team minutes.
Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard, on loan from Reading)
Novakovich started twice but did little to move the needle for Fortuna in a goalless draw with Groningen and a 2-1 KNVB Cup win over Cambuur. He had one shot against Groningen but did win six aerials. In the cup, he was removed with 15 minutes to play; a moment later, his side found the equalizer. Novakovich has a decent four goals in 11 starts and two sub appearances this season.
Erik Palmer-Brown (NAC Breda, on loan from Manchester City)
Palmer-Brown was an unused sub for NAC in a 4-2 win over Heerenveen.
Geoff Cameron (Queens Park Rangers, on loan from Stoke City)
Cameron remains out of the QPR side due to injury. Rangers rattled off two wins and a draw over the Christmas period to move into eighth place, four points back of a promotion playoff spot.
Eric Lichaj (Hull City, Championship)
Hull also rattled off a string of good results over the busy stretch, beating Swansea, Preston, and league-leading Leeds in succession. Lichaj was a substitute in the latter two contests, coming on for the final seconds against Preston and the last 15 minutes against Leeds.
Gboly Ariyibi (Nottingham Forest, Championship)
Ariyibi is still out of the picture for Forest’s first team. There are rumors that he could be on his way out of the club in January, but that’s up in the air at the moment (LINK).
Duane Holmes (Derby County, Championship)
Holmes was a substitute twice over the holidays, playing the final 15 minutes of a 1-1 draw with Bristol City and the final 12 minutes of a remarkable 4-3 win over Norwich. In the contest with the Canaries, Holmes played a vital role in helping the Rams to the points, winning the ball in the midfield and driving into the box before his shot was blocked, with the rebound being put in for Derby’s equalizer in the 87th minute.
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland, League 1)
Gooch started all three games over Sunderland’s busy run, playing the full 90 in a 3-1 loss to Portsmouth and being subbed off in their 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury and 1-0 win over Bradford. He wasn’t on the scoresheet in any. However, Gooch did also sign a new contract with Sunderland, which will keep him at the club through 2022 and should ward off interest from a handful of clubs in January.
Emerson Hyndman (Hibernian, on loan from Bournemouth, Scottish Premiership)
Hyndman played in all three of Hibs’ games over the past stretch, starting and being subbed off just after the hour mark in the first two before entering as a substitute in the third. Hibs drew twice and lost once.
Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg, Bundesliga)
Stanko remains sidelines as he recovers from the long-term injury that’s kept him off the field so far this season. Freiburg sit in 11th place at the midway point after drawing Hannover and beating Nurnberg.
Terrence Boyd (Darmstadt, 2. Bundesliga)
Boyd was an unused substitute in Darmstadt’s final game before the winter break, a 6-2 defeat to Paderborn. Darmstadt are in 13th place at the midway point.
McKinze Gaines (Darmstadt, 2. Bundesliga)
Gaines did not make the squad for Darmstadt.
Jann George (Jahn Regensburg, 2. Bundesliga)
George played 84 minutes before being removed for a substitute in a 2-1 win over Ingolstadt. Regensburg are in ninth place.
Ken Gipson (Sandhausen, 2. Bundesliga)
Gipson did not make the Sandhausen 18-man squad that played Greuther Fuerth to a scoreless draw. Sandhausen are in 15th place, out of the relegation playoff spot on goal differential only.
Andrew Wooten (Sandhausen, 2. Bundesliga)
Wooten played 90 minutes in Sandhausen’s aforementioned goalless draw with Greuther.
Joe Gyau (Duisburg, 2. Bundesliga)
Gyau played the second half of a 3-1 loss to Dynamo Dresden.
Kevin Lankford (Heidenheim, 2. Bundesliga)
Lankford did not appear for Heidenheim in a 2-1 win.
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, Jupiler League)
Horvath started twice as Brugge triumphed twice, 5-1 over Antwerp and 1-0 over Lokeren. The pair of victories have kept Brugge in second place in the Belgian Pro League. Horvath is back to being the side’s number one and is rewarding that trust with solid performances.
Brendan Hines-Ike (Kortrijk, Jupiler League)
Hines-Ike first did not make the 18 man roster, then was an unused sub for Kortrijk.
Kenny Saief (Anderlecht, Jupiler League)
Saief twice was a late sub for Anderlecht, who lost to Royal Excel Mouscron and beat Waasland-Beveren.
Kekuta Manneh (St. Gallen, Swiss Super League)
St. Gallen is on winter break until January 14.
Shaq Moore (CF Reus, on loan from Levante, Segunda Liga -> returning to Levante)
Moore was subbed out after 78 minutes of Reus’ 1-0 loss to Osasuna. More notably, however, his loan was terminated by Reus due to their inability to pay the wages of a handful of loan players, so he’ll head back to Levante with a cloudy future.
Desevio Payne (Excelsior Rotterdam, Eredivisie)
Payne remains sidelined with a long-term injury.
Kyle Scott (SC Telstar, on loan from Chelsea, Eerste Divisie)
Scott was an unused sub this week.
Romain Gall (Malmo, Allsvenskan)
Malmo drew Chelsea in the Europa League Round of 32. The February 14th first leg will be the first match of the season for the Swedish side, with the Allsvenskan running on a May to November schedule.
The biggest news among the youth ranks is that Richie Ledezma has officially signed with PSV. The 18-year-old midfielder should have a chance to play with the reserves in the second division immediately, and he could make a quick rise to the first team if all goes well. In other news, Aston Villa’s Indiana Vassilev reportedly has interest from MLS sides, as well as Premier League club Fulham, but Villa don’t plan to sell him. Still, it’ll be interesting to monitor his status, as the 17-year-old has worked his way into the Villans U-23 outfit recently. So too has Matteo Ritaccio, another 17-year-old, at Liverpool, recently making his debut for the U-23s and winning a late penalty (that was not converted). He will join the list below for the first time along with Ledezma. One player who is already on the list and has been on the radar for some time, Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal, continues to work his way back from a long-term injury layoff and has recently appeared for the U-23s. Meanwhile, one player who could join the list very soon is right back Manny Perez, formerly of North Carolina State University, who is rumored to have signed with Celtic. If it’s true, confirmation should come soon. Lastly, one player who won’t be joining the list below is QPR defender Niko Hamalainen, who has accepted a call up from Finalnd’s senior side. He would now have to file a switch to play for the USMNT, which seems particularly unlikely for a player who has only played for Finland’s youth teams.
Jonathan Amon (FC Nordsjaelland, Danish Superliga)
Brandon Austin (Tottenham, Premier League)
Folarin Balogun (Arsenal, Premier League)
Luca de la Torre (Fulham, Premier League)
Marlon Fossey (Fulham, Premier League)
Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United, Premier League)
Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers, Premier League)
Matteo Ritaccio (Liverpool, Premier League)
Peter Stroud (West Ham United, Premier League)
Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal, Premier League)
Indiana Vassilev (Aston Villa, Championship)
Chris Gloster (Hannover, Bundesliga)
Sebastian Soto (Hannover, Bundesliga)
Zyen Jones (Schalke, Bundesliga)
Nick Taitague (Schalke, Bundesliga)
Haji Wright (Schalke, Bundesliga)
Mason Judge (Eintracht Frankfurt, Bundesliga)
Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin, Bundesliga)
Alex Mendez (Freiburg, Bundesliga)
Chris Richards (Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, on loan from FC Dallas)
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
Isaiah Young (Werder Bremen, Bundesliga)
Lennard Maloney (Union Berlin, 2. Bundesliga)
Brady Scott (FC Koln, 2. Bundesliga)
Blaine Ferri (Greuther Fuerth, 2. Bundesliga)
Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal, La Liga)
Andre Costa (Rayo Vallecano, La Liga)
Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona, La Liga)
Rayshaun McGann (Getafe, La Liga)
Akil Watts (Mallorca, Segunda Division)
Gennaro Nigro (Roma, Serie A)
Sergino Dest (Ajax, Eredivisie)
Jamie Dunning (Feyenoord, Eredivisie)
Richie Ledezma (PSV, Eredivisie)
Stuart Ritchie (Groningen, Eredivisie)
CJ Dos Santos (Benfica, Primeira Liga)
Keaton Parks (Benfica, Primeira Liga)
Eryk Williamson (Santa Clara, Primeira Liga, on loan from Portland Timbers)
Ben Lederman (Gent, Jupiler League)
Juan Torres (Sporting Lokeren, Jupiler League)
Christian Cappis (Hobro, Danish Superliga)