Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up
NBCSports Header Logo

Transfer news: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi to Ajax; Kalvin Phillips to Manchester United

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nicholas Mendola explain why American players have struggled to impress abroad recently.

The latest transfer news sees USMNT teenager Ricardo Pepi linked with Ajax, while Kalvin Phillips to Manchester United is one heck of a report.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

There’s a lot to unpack here, especially with the second rumor.

But let’s start with Pepi, 18, as FC Dallas could well sell the clinical forward in January as he continues his incredible rise.

Plenty of European teams appear to be circling for Pepi...

USMNT rising star Ricardo Pepi wanted by Ajax, other European teams

An initial report from 90min stated that several European teams want to sign Pepi, while Fabrizio Romano has reported that at least one Serie A side and Bundesliga clubs are keeping a very close eye on the 18-year-old.

Pepi scored on his USMNT debut in September, and grabbed two assists, as he ignited a superb comeback win at Honduras in a crucial World Cup qualifying win.

The latest report from 90min says that Ajax met with Pepi’s representatives in Dallas over the weekend. It has previously been reported that FC Dallas would accepted a bid of around $10 million for the American striker, but this latest report says that the transfer fee would be over $22 million.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

That would see Pepi overtake Alphonso Davies as the most-expensive homegrown player in MLS history.

After producing the likes of Weston McKennie, Chris Richards, Bryan Reynolds, Reggie Cannon and Tanner Tessmann through their academy, FC Dallas continues to be the best team for young Americans to join if they want a speedy route to Europe from MLS.

Pepi is the next player set to leave, as his representatives want the move wrapped up by the end of the 2021 MLS season so he can train with his new team in Europe and then be ready to roll from Jan. 1.

Ajax would be a great fit for Pepi. It’s a club which plays an attractive, attacking style and is renowned for developing young talent in the right way. This would be a much better fit than Pepi going to a huge team in Germany, Italy or England and not playing right away.

Leeds hero heading to Manchester United?

One of the more unlikely reports out there is Leeds hero Kalvin Phillips moving to Manchester United.

According to the Daily Mirror, Manchester United have given up hope on signing Declan Rice from West Ham and will instead focus on trying to sign Kalvin Phillips.

Phillips, 25, had a sensational EURO 2020 alongside Rice in England’s midfield and he is the perfect two-way midfielder. Rice is valued at over $121 million by West Ham and Phillips would be cheaper and he’s currently in contract negotiations with Leeds.

Despite their rivalry with Leeds, Man United have signed plenty of their star players over the years as Eric Cantona, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand have all swapped Elland Road for Old Trafford.

Phillips, born and raised in Leeds, clearly loves the club but if the right opportunity arrives for his career, could he put the rivalry with Manchester United to one side? Probably.

His ability to turn defense into attack with his incredible array of passes has been a hallmark of Leeds’ success after they were promoted to the Premier League last season and that ability has also seen him become an influential member of the England team.

Manchester United need a savvy central midfielder to not only help protect the back four but also get attacks going.

Phillips is the perfect player to do that, as you can already see the Yorkshire Pirlo feeding Ronaldo, Rashford, Greenwood, Sancho and Co. with inch-perfect passes. Can we see this move happening? Hmmm. Leeds’ board surely won’t sanction this.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports