Gregg Berhalter Reveals the Signing That Almost Changed the Destiny of Columbus Crew

Coach opens up about how Luis Díaz was a step away from becoming the Crew’s star
Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Gregg Berhalter, who now leads the United States National Team, recently shared a heartfelt story from his time with the Columbus Crew. In a surprising revelation, Berhalter recounted how he was on the verge of signing Luis Díaz, one of South America's most promising talents, when he was still emerging at Junior Barranquilla.

Berhalter did not hold back his praise when speaking about Díaz. "We were very close to signing him," the coach confessed, making it clear that the negotiations had reached an advanced stage. "We spoke with his representatives and everything was well underway, but in the end, we couldn't close the deal," he added.

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Luis Díaz, currently at Liverpool FC, was only 21 at the time. His ball-handling skills, speed, and ability to dribble past opponents caught the attention of clubs worldwide. Under Berhalter’s leadership, the Columbus Crew was determined to bring this Colombian gem to strengthen their squad and possibly change the trajectory of the franchise in Major League Soccer (MLS).

But, as often happens in soccer, destiny had other plans. The deal, which seemed almost certain, ultimately fell through. The exact reason for the failure remains a mystery, but Berhalter suggested that contractual issues and competition from other clubs may have been the main obstacles.

Luis Díaz's arrival at the Columbus Crew could have been a game-changer, not just for the club, but also for MLS, which is constantly seeking to raise its level of competitiveness and attractiveness.

As Berhalter continues his journey now at the helm of the U.S. national team, the near-signing of Luis Díaz by the Columbus Crew remains a "what if" in the memory of many...