With his impressive performances at the World Cup seeing him go from a relative unknown to a potential Premier League target, USA international DeAndre Yedlin seems set for a move to Europe at some stage in the near future.
His substitute outing in the 2-1 extra-time defeat to Belgium in the last 16 earning particular praise, Yedlin has been linked to a number of European clubs over the past week, including Liverpool, Roma and Napoli, with the Seattle Sounders forced to release a telling statement in response to the growing interest in their promising right-back.
However, the question remains as to whether the 21-year-old is ready for such a move at this still early stage of his career, having only just established himself in MLS over the past season.
One of the most highly-rated youngsters in the league, Yedlin’s career has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining the Sounders in January 2013 as the club’s first-ever Homegrown signing, having spent the previous two years playing at the college level with the University of Akron.
Earning 30 starts and a place on the All-Star team during his rookie season, the Washington-native was widely hailed as a future national team stalwart and certain starter for Russia 2018, appearing in the 2013 U-20 World Cup, before making his senior US debut in February this year against South Korea.
A surprise inclusion in Jurgen Klinsmann’s final 23-man squad for Brazil, given his lack of international experience, his energetic substitute appearances on the right flank were one of the clear bright spots of the side’s run to the knockout stages but, despite shining on the world’s biggest stage, expectations should still be tempered somewhat ahead of a possible move.
Never short of confidence, Yedlin’s pace and acceleration sees him excel in the attack, as a former winger in college, but he remains a clear work in progress when it comes to the defensive side of the game.
Concerns about his ability to read the game and defend one-on-one may be somewhat overblown in MLS circles but it’s evident that he still has a great deal to learn when it comes to his positional sense, often getting caught out when too far up the field.
His World Cup displays were arguably some of the best defensive efforts of his short career but, having got by with his sheer physical skills at times in MLS, European football, particularly the Premier League, could pose a big challenge.
Ultimately, Yedlin would be well served by remaining in the States and refining his skills but, if a major side such as Liverpool or Roma were to sign him, then the best option from there would be for a loan to either a lesser-competitive league or back to Seattle for an extended period.
He can certainly gain a lot from the coaching at those big clubs but to ask the him to come in and play right now would be a big ask for a player still so relatively raw.