MLS exports have been a mixed bag

The MLS’ top 10 record transfers to European clubs – & how they fared

MLS to Europe transfers seem to be gaining in popularity as soccer in North America continues to grow as a sport. There have been success stories, there have been quite a lot of flop stories, and there has been the occasional superstar lighting up Europe’s upper echelons.

We’re taking a look at the ten most expensive transfers from MLS to Europe and—SPOILER ALERT—most of them are quite recent because that’s how inflation works.

Let’s crack on, shall we?

Daryl Dike

Orlando City to West Bromwich Albion, £7.4million

Remember Emmanuel Emenike? Absolutely rapid on FIFA back in the day. Well, Daryl’s his cousin. That’s not really relevant, just a little drive-by fact for you.

Dike is currently in his third season with WBA, having scored eight goals in 32 appearances. The USMNT striker has been plagued by injury, and has ruptured his achilles twice. Very, very, very not ideal.

Gabriel Slonina

Chicago Fire to Chelsea, £7.8million

Gaga Slonina is very much one for the future. Still only 19, he’s yet to make an appearance for Chelsea and is currently on loan at Eupen in the Belgian Pro League. Slonina has already played for USMNT, the youngest goalkeeper ever to do so. Keep those eyes peeled.

Fulham's Clint Dempsey celebrates his goal during their Premier League draw against West Ham United at Upton Park, London, October 2010.
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FC Cincinnati to Udinese, £8.5million

The Brazilian mononymous striker was doing pretty well in Cincinnati before he traversed the Atlantic and rocked up in Northeast Italy. He’s played 36 minutes for Le Zebrette since joining last summer. Hasn’t scored yet.

It be like that sometimes.

Brenden Aaronson

Philadelphia Union to RB Salzburg, £10.85million

The Medford Messi is in his fourth season in Europe, having impressed in Salzburg and made a big move to Leeds. Aaronson initially looked decent in his one and only Premier League season to date but his lack of physicality soon became an issue and he ended up getting relegated.

He’s now on loan at Union Berlin and there’s every chance he’ll join back with Leeds in the Premier League next season. Having said that, the Championship is merciless and his parent club are currently involved in a three-way tussle for automatic promotion. We’ll see…

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Alphonso Davies

Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich, £12million

The Roadrunner is smashing it. You already knew that. He literally won the Champions League in his second season in Germany, and we suspect it won’t be the last time he gets his hands on that particular trophy, wherever he happens to be playing his club football in the future.

A move to Real Madrid is reportedly imminent. A Canada international as part of a new Galactico project with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Kylian Mbappe and Endrick? The times they are a changin’.

Djordje Petrovic

New England Revolution to Chelsea, £12million

Petrovic has forged a rather odd career path through football, joining MLS from Serbia. He’s now Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper due to Robert Sanchez sustaining an injury. And, you know what? He might remain their starting keeper. Djordje essentially won The Blues a penalty shootout to take them to the League Cup semifinals.

Taty Castellanos

New York City FC to Lazio, £12.8million

Valentín Mariano José Castellanos Giménez, or Taty to his mates, has been used mainly as a sub since his move to Lazio last year. According to FotMob, however, he’s put in the joint most Player of the Match performances for Le Aquile this season (three, tied with Felipe Anderson).

Proper impact sub behaviour.

The US Open Cup ahead of the 2023 final.
QUIZ: Can you name every winner of the US Open Cup since 1996?

Ricardo Pepi

FC Dallas to FC Augsburg, £14million

Pepi is prolific for USMNT but it didn’t quite work out for him at Augsburg. He was (and still is) young, though, and he got a second chance on loan with Groningen. The American found his feet in the Netherlands and has now made a permanent switch to PSV, with whom he is currently p*ssing the league.

Jhon Duran

Chicago Fire to Aston Villa, £14.2million

The Colombian is raw but there’s real talent there. Unai Emory has mainly used Duran coming on from the bench for the Villains, but he’s still only 20 years old, and we reckon there’s a lot more to come from him. He’s well-placed for success as long as Emory stays at Villa, and chances will come.

Miguel Almiron

Atlanta United to Newcastle United, £20.5million

Everyone’s favourite smiley little tree frog of a winger has been a regular for the Toon since he signed in 2018. Six seasons on, and he’s still running his legs off every week.

There are whispers that he could be sold by Newcastle in the summer in order to free up funds for their world domination project. There’d be tears on Tyneside, but Miggy is 30 now and it probably makes sense. Doesn’t make it any easier.

Sidenote: Miggy has lived in either the USA or the UK for the past seven years and doesn’t appear to speak a word of English. You sort of have to respect that level of dedication to the Spanish language.