Per Kristian Dyer of The Athletic, Bayern Munich have submitted a $12 million offer for Vancouver Whitecaps young star Alphonso Davies. The bid illustrates the changing nature of MLS.
As an Englishman covering Major League Soccer, I have a unique insight into the global perspective of the league. The old ‘retirement league’ tag that it often gets brandished with does carry some significance outside of the States, and even within the States for some portions of the sporting public.
However, while that label will preside with MLS for some time — as long as players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney are arriving, the league will never shake it, irrespective of the general trend of the demographic of the players –, there is a shift in the nature of the league, and a big one at that.
Teams like Atlanta United and Los Angeles FC are now utilising their Designated Player spots on young talent, often from South America, rather than investing in an ageing, soon-to-be-retiring European former star. There is a greater focus on the development of home-grown talent; there is a greater appreciation for the technical and tactical aspects of the game, not just the stereotypical American way of finding the biggest, fastest, most athletic kid and trying to teach him the nuances of the game.
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The league is changing. And for the better.
The latest example of this comes in the form of a vastly talented, whippet winger from Canada. Yes, Canada, not America, is at the forefront of the advancements in MLS. And in this case, it is the wondrous ability of young Alphonso Davies, a 17-year-old phenom who doesn’t quite realise how good he is or what he is doing for the global game.
Per Kristian Dyer of The Athletic, (the piece is behind a paywall so unless if you have a subscription to The Athletic, you will not be able to read the article) Bayern Munich have submitted a $12 million offer to Vancouver Whitecaps for the services of their star attacker. That is the base fee with a series of clauses and add-ons that could see the fee rise depending on certain achievements being reached, likely linked to the number of appearances that Davies makes in the coming seasons.
It remains to be seen whether the deal is completed or not. Dyer is not bashful in his piece. There are few reservations made, no conditionals made, just the stating of what is, in his opinion, a pure fact: Bayern are close to signing Daves for $12 million plus.
The bid is a perfect example of how MLS is changing. Davies would be the most expensive player sold by any MLS organisation. And it’s not close. Jozy Altidore’s transfer to Villareal in 2009 is currently the record sale for an MLS club. That was valued at $6.5 million, just over half of what Davies is expected to transfer for.
This is a statement of change and intent. MLS can develop talent. Tyler Adams is another who is being strongly linked with a move to a European club and could well join up with former Jesse Marsch at RB Leipzig in the future. And like Davies, Adams will command a substantial fee such is the greatness of his potential.
MLS may still get the tag of being a retirement league. And to some extent, the tag is still true. But in a desperate attempt to distance itself from the derogatory labelling, deals like Davies’ are crucial. MLS is changing. Davies is proof of that. And it’s all for the better.