Breaking Down Recent USMNT Transfers: Dike, Pepi, Sands and More

USMNT, Ricardo Pepi (Photo by Orlando SIERRA / AFP) (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)
USMNT, Ricardo Pepi (Photo by Orlando SIERRA / AFP) (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images) /
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In the world of soccer, there typically aren’t many “big-money” moves in the January transfer window. Most clubs prefer to wait for the summer, but with the COVID pandemic, injuries, and pressure from facing potential relegation, some clubs decide “enough is enough” and “it’s time to make some changes.” And some clubs, for better or worse, just want to make a change to get ahead of their competition or at least remain competitive.

Interestingly, some American players have headlined the transfer rumor mills lately and some actual moves have been completed, including one big-money powerplay.

Below, I break down the latest transfers.

Daryl Dike to West Bromwich Albion

With Europe’s top leagues opening their transfer window over the weekend, no one would’ve guessed that an American would be the talk of the town 2.5 hours northwest of London, England. For $9.5m plus performance bonuses, including a 20% future sale clause, Orlando City SC sent USMNT striker Daryl Dike to West Bromwich Albion.

A number of USMNT players have been involved in transfers this winter

Dike is now reunited with his former Barnsley manager, Valerien Ismael, who has led West Brom to its current 4th place standing in the English Football League Championship, just shy of automatic promotion into the Premier League. Adding Dike to West Brom’s squad will likely increase their chances for promotion.

“I like to do the work for the other players in the team. I like to do things such as making runs and holding up the ball. Even defensively I am happy to help out,” said Dike in an interview with Luke Hatfield, “But I’m a striker and I want to score goals and I want to win games. I’m a big competitor. I’ll do anything I can to try and get the results.”

Dike is a talented striker, with 23 goals across all clubs and country in 2021 alone. That’s 10 goals while at Barnsley, 10 goals while at Orlando City and 3 goals for the United States. It seems that whatever team he plays for, he is scoring goals. And it’s not going to be much different in West Bromwich. In fact, Larry Henry Jr. of SBI Soccer said that because a lot matches in England come down to teams grinding it out while looking for a breakthrough goal, Dike would thrive in such an environment.

As for what this means for his role in the USMNT, it’s definitely good news as long as he continues his scoring ways. Some have already slotted him as the third option at the striker position. And they’re probably right. With the upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches set at the end of the month, this move arguably solidifies his spot in the roster.