As the European league seasons draw to a close for 2021/22, clubs are quickly turning their attention to transfers and new contracts.
This season, some of football’s biggest names are out of contact in June 2022, while others have already signalled their intentions to move elsewhere. For some players, the MLS represents a good final opportunity to play competitive football before retirement from the game.
It may be football that draws in the big names and headlines in the US, but soccer is becoming increasingly popular, especially now bettors can have a wager on their favorite team. Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, a lot of US sportsbook operators have launched dedicated soccer wagering apps. According to gamble-usa.com/sports-betting/apps/soccer/, BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel are some of the standout names in the US betting industry.
In this article, we look at the five biggest names that could make the move from Europe to the MLS this summer.
1. Angel Di Maria
Paris St Germain forward Angel Di Maria has been a stalwart at the top levels of European football for 15 years. The Argentinian has also served PSG since joining the French giants from Manchester United in 2016.
However, after making nearly 300 appearances for the Ligue 1 club, Di Maria will not get a contract renewal beyond the 2021/22 season. His contract expires in June 2022, and it appears the Argentina international has set his sights on a move away from France.
Rumours have highlighted that the 34-year-old has an interest in moving to play in the MLS. Although, teams from the American League may face competition from the likes of Juventus this summer to secure Di Maria’s signature.
2. Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez’s contract with Atletico Madrid comes to an end in June 2022, and the player and club have not agreed to a new deal. With the 35-year-old a free agent, interest has come from Europe and the MLS for the Uruguayan’s signature for next season.
Ultimately, Suarez has shown he still has goals in him this season. The striker scored 11 and made three assists in 44 appearances under Diego Simeone. As a result, teams from the Premier League appear interested in the 35-year-old. Rumours have circulated about Suarez re-uniting with former teammate Steve Gerrard at Aston Villa
But MLS teams also seem keen to secure Suarez’s services for 2022/23. Since Gonzalo Higuain issued a warning to Suarez that life in the MLS is no breeze, rumours have risen about the Uraguayn’s potential move to the States.
3. Gareth Bale
Following nearly a decade of ups and downs at Real Madrid, Welsh star Gareth Bale looks set to depart the Bernabeu this summer. After making just five appearances for Los Blancos in 2021/22, MLS sides appear keen to bring Bale to the MLS.
Reportedly, DC United are the frontrunners to sign the 32-year-old on a free transfer. However, competition could come from Europe as Tottenham are also keeping tabs on the situation, as are Welsh side Cardiff City.
4. Giorgio Chiellini
Although Italian man-mountain Giorgio Chiellini has a year left on his contract at Juventus, the defender signalled his intention to leave recently. Chiellini has been an ever-present feature of the Juventus side for 17 years but decided to leave the club at the end of the 2021/22 season.
However, the Euro 2020 winner did not signal his intentions to retire from football completely. As a result, MLS clubs have shown interest in signing the 37-year-old this summer. Currently, LAFC appears to be the most interested party in bringing Chellini to the league.
5. Ivan Perisic
Perisic’s contract situation with Inter has been ongoing for months, but it now seems the Croatian will leave Milan in the summer. The winger has been a foundation in Inter’s success this season, making 34 appearances, scoring seven goals, and assisting seven.
Perisic has had a great career so far, even playing in a World Cup final to his name. Ok, so maybe Croatia lost, but he still had a great game, and Croatia were unlucky not to win.
But, even though the 33-yeard-old wanted to remain in Milan next season, the club is willing to let the Croatia international leave on a free transfer this summer. Reports suggest Perisic has rejected offers from the MLS, Qatar, and Turkey, with several clubs interested. But, as a stay with Inter appears less likely, the forward could be convinced to move Stateside in the coming months.