Good Monday morning Caps fans, and happy new year. I hope you all had a safe, happy and healthy holiday and were able to enjoy family, friends and a chorus or two of Auld Lang Syne.
I had a lengthy column written with a variety of new years’ resolutions for Caps’ players but it appears to have been lost to the vagaries of Google Docs. I will attempt to recover it for Friday, where it will hopefully appear in all its glory. For now, I’ll round up the last week’s worth of links to help get you through the first Monday morning of 2022.
The big news is Ricardo Pepi headed to Bundesliga side Augsburg on a deal that is among the highest ever paid for an outgoing MLS player (a fee I believe to be inflated but that’s besides the point). Whether Pepi’s deal tops Alphonso Davies’ move to Bayern Munich depends on if you count performance bonuses or not.
Whether or not Pepi is actually worth the $20 million, the move is still a good sign for MLS clubs that the market for their players in Europe remains as high as ever. Daryl Dike moving on loan to West Bromwich Albion, despite an underwhelming last few months, further reinforces that European clubs are looking to MLS as a legitimate talent stream and, in some senses, a market inefficiency that has yet to be fully tapped.
The fact that Vancouver more or less began this trend with the Davies sale doesn’t change the reality that it has yet to take advantage of the explosion of players moving to Europe for sizable fees. It goes without saying that the club wants this to change but the demand for the league’s players abroad is good news for the potential future of Thomas Hasal, Javain Brown and others, who have substantial room to grow as youngsters and could maybe develop into having a market abroad where none may have existed before.
Best of the Rest
More on Pepi’s move and what it might mean for the U.S. Men’s National Team picture
A handful of MLS players will feature in the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off later this month in Cameroon
The Caps’ 2022 resolution? Be all in on Vanni Sartini
Steve Cherundolo is set to be LAFC’s new manager, reports say
A story on Stephen Eustaquio’s development for the Canadian National Team