DeAndre Yedlin has had himself a fun summer of 2014. The 21-year-old went from virtual unknown, to a member of Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States World Cup squad. In Brazil, Yedlin’s impressive performances vs. Portugal and Belgium were enough to turn heads of clubs around the world and transform the Seattle Sounders right back into a hot transfer commodity almost overnight. Last month, the rumor mill put him on the verge of a move to Italy with Roma. This weekend, multiple reports link Yedlin to an imminent move to Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League.
Ives Galarcep of Goal.com wrote on Friday afternoon that Seattle and Spurs are close on a deal worth somewhere in the range of $3.2 million. The move would keep Yedlin with the Sounders through the end of the 2014 MLS season. The BBC later reported the two sides are in “advanced talks.” Seattle GM Andrian Hanauer admitted Yedlin is in Europe meeting with a “big club” and that any potential deal would keep him with the Sounders through the end of the season.
Bear in mind, until Yedlin is holding up a Spurs shirt posing next to Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane, treat every rumor or report with caution.
If these reports are true, that’s a decent sum of money for a player that — let’s face it — few outside the MLS bubble knew existed until he came on in the 72nd minute of the U.S. game vs. Portugal and turned heads with his speed on the right flank, setting up Clint Dempsey then go-ahead goal in the 2-2 draw. The transfer fee would also be the most spent on an MLS “Homegrown” player. However that fee would be a drop in the bucket for a spend-happy club like Tottenham to take a flier on a player of Yedlin’s potential.
How would Yedlin fit in at Tottenham? It’s difficult to speculate since he might not arrive at White Hart Lane for many months . He wouldn’t be an immediate starter, if he arrives in January. He could also be loaned to another club in 2015 by Spurs. If nothing else, his speed on the flank would work well in the rock ’em, sock ’em Premier League and give him some cameos off the bench right away whenever he debuts for Tottenham.
At right back Yedlin would have to unseat 24-year-old England international Kyle Walker, who didn’t make the Three Lions squad in Brazil. Yedlin would probably allow Tottenham to sell off 25-year-old Kyle Naughton. If Yedlin projects more as a right wing type player, he’s got Argentine Erik Lamela in front of him, along with veteran Aaron Lennon. Lamela, the club’s record signing in the summer of 2013 for around $50 million, was awful during his first season but Pochettino is seemingly focused on reviving the career of his countryman.
The good thing about Spurs is that the club has consistently participated in the Europa League — Europe’s second-tier continental club competition. The extra games, along with the League and FA Cup, would give Yedlin ample chances to see the field whenever he eventually settles at the club. Pochettino, as seen the last season and a half at Southampton wasn’t afraid to field young players, such as teenager Luke Shaw who made a big-money move to Manchester United this summer and Calum Chambers, sold to Arsenal earlier this month.
There’s also the Klinsmann connection to consider. Klinsmann spent part of his career at Tottenham and Yedlin seemed to be a favorite of the coach, so did he help steer him in the direction of White Hart Lane as opposed to other clubs? Or were Spurs willing to pay more than Roma, et al, for the promising American?
Again, if true, this would put another U.S. international into the mix in the world’s most-popular league. Contributions at the Premier League level by U.S. field players was limited mainly to Geoff Cameron at Stoke City and Jozy Altidore at Sunderland. Keepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan obviously logged major minutes at Everton and Aston Villa, respectively, in goal.
The most encouraging aspect about all potential deals for Yedlin is that he’ll stay with the Sounders, which keeps him playing first-team soccer, rather than fighting for sporadic playing time in a new country/league.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Taylor Twellman tweeted Yedlin/Tottenham is a done deal. Specifics have yet to be released, beyond the price tage.
Annnnnnd here he is posing with his new shirt, confirming the move officially.