Now that most of the 2019-2020 European season has concluded, the international transfer window is set to see a bunch of movement as teams reload for the 2020-2021 season. One report indicates a current English Premier League player and former Sounders homegrown star may be on the move back to MLS, and the Sounders are interested in retaining his services. Very interested.
According to Tom Bogert of MLSsoccer.com, Newcastle right back Deandre Yedlin appears close to be making an exit from the Premier League side and has expressed some interest in returning to the domestic league. Yedlin has spent the last five seasons with Newcastle, scoring three goals in 115 appearances.
However, Yedlin has seen his playing time limited recently due to injuries and manager choice, and his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-2021 season. According to Bogert, Yedlin and Newcastle have not held talks about an extension, fueling speculation he may be ready for a change of address.
For the Sounders part, they declined to comment on the record—their policy is not to comment on players under contract with another team—but a source close to the team confirmed that the Sounders are aware of the reports, and that there is significant interest in bringing Yedlin back to the team that helped develop him into a USMNT regular. The Sounders sold Yedlin to Tottenham Hotspur in 2014 for $4 million. Yedlin made only one appearance with Tottenham however before going on loan to Sunderland, and Tottenham sold him to Newcastle in 2016.
It’s important to say that neither the Sounders nor Yedlin have initiated talks, and there are some hurdles to clear before Yedlin and the Sounders are reunited. For the 2020-2021 season, the odds of Yedlin joining MLS are low (but not nonexistent a source noted). As Bogert’s report said, Yedlin’s salary (rumored to be in the $2 million/year range) would instantly make him a Designated Player, and the Sounders do not have any open slots until January 2021 at the earliest. The Sounders also have veteran right-back Kelvin Leerdam holding down the right back position, though as he is in his fourth year with the team, he is likely near the end of his contract.