With his impressive performances at the World Cup seeing him go from relative unknown MLS prospect to a potential Premier League target, USA defender DeAndre Yedlin seems set for a move to Europe at some stage in the near future.
A surprise inclusion in Jurgen Klinsmann’s final 23-man squad for Brazil, given his lack of international experience, Yedlin’s energetic substitute outings on the right flank proved one of the clear bright spots of the side’s run to the knockout stages and earned him widespread plaudits.
His appearance in the 2-1 extra-time defeat to Belgium in the last-16 seeing particular praise, the Seattle Sounders right-back has been linked to a number of top European sides this summer, including Liverpool, Napoli and Inter Milan, with Serie A runners-up Roma said to have been leading the race for his signature.
While that speculation appeared to have died down over recent weeks, it’s now been kicked back into life, with ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reporting that the 21-year-old speedster could be set for a move to Tottenham Hotspur, who have come out of nowhere to jump ahead of the queue.
Hearing Spurs have jumped ahead of everyone else in Yedlin sweepstakes. He'd stay in Seattle for 2014 before joining Tottenham.— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) August 6, 2014
There had been questions about whether he would be able to earn a work permit, having made just seven appearances for the national team since his debut at the start of 2014, but it’s since been revealed that there would be a clear path to EU citizenship through his mother’s Latvian heritage.
With a rumoured asking price of around the £4.5 million, which would be the highest ever paid for an MLS defender, Tottenham’s original plan was to purchase Yedlin and then loan him back to the Sounders for the remaining half of the 2014 season.
However, after the league’s transfer deadline passed on August 6, it remains unclear how matters will proceed or if a deal has in fact been reached, with the youngster himself stating that he was perfectly content to remain in his native Seattle for the foreseeable future.
Spurs had a chance to get a close look at Yedlin earlier in pre-season, when Mauricio Pochettino’s side faced the Sounders in the opening match of their USA tour, although he failed to impress that evening when matched up against Premier League opposition.
One of the league’s top-rated talents, his career has seen a meteoric rise over the past 18 months, going from the college level to a two-time All-Star and World Cup standout after just one full professional season, but the Akron product remains far from the finished package at present.
Never short of confidence, Yedlin’s pace and acceleration sees him excel in the attack, as a former winger in college, but he is a clear work in progress when it comes to his defensive game, with a great deal still to learn on the positional side of things.
In that sense, sticking around in MLS, where he can hone his skills with regular first-team minutes, would prove a solid option, though there will still be those who want him to make the jump to Europe as soon as possible.
Spurs do already boast the highly-rated Kyle Walker to fill the right-back slot going forward, but top team are always on the lookout for additional talent and Yedlin undoubtedly fits that bill, even if expectations should be tempered somewhat at this moment in time.