A pair of young USMNT strikers, Ricardo Pepi and Daryl Dike, are making the jump from MLS to Europe just as 2022, year of the World Cup, begins.
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Pepi, 18, and Dike, 21, are set to complete transfers to Germany and England, respectively, where they will join Augsburg (reportedly) and West Bromwich Albion (confirmed). Combined, Pepi and Dike will see MLS and the players’ clubs — FC Dallas and Orlando City SC — receive over $30 million in transfer fees.
Ricardo Pepi to Augsburg, Bundesliga
According to Fabrizio Romano, Ricardo Pepi and his agent are traveling to Bavaria, where the El Paso-born, 6-foot-1 striker will undergo medical tests on Sunday.
Wolfsburg were the longtime favorites as Pepi’s European landing spot, but they reportedly failed to agree a transfer fee package with FC Dallas, while Augsburg agreed their deal in principle this weekend.
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Pepi is a polished professional for a player of his age, but he still has a long way to go to reach the heights the USMNT need him to reach to make a deep run in upcoming World Cups. He’s already the most complete striker in the USMNT player pool, but that’s more an indictment of the rest of Gregg Berhalter’s options than Pepi surging past a series of established stars. Don’t let the backdrop distract from the fact that Pepi is still very raw with lots to improve upon.
As so many budding USMNT stars have shown in recent years, Germany will be an ideal place for Pepi to learn, and he will have to do so quickly. Halfway through the 2021-22 Bundesliga season (17 games remaining), Augsburg sit 15th in the table, one spot and one point above the relegation playoff place, and two points and two places above the automatic relegation spot in 17th.
Darly Dike to West Brom
West Brom reportedly agreed to pay Orlando City $9.5 million to bring Daryl Dike to The Hawthorns, where he’ll once again try to help an EFL Championship side win promotion to the Premier League.
West Brom sit 4th in the Championship table, two places and four points behind 2nd-place Fulham, who currently occupy the second and final automatic promotion place. Through 24 games this season, West Brom have scored 11 fewer goals than any of the three sides currently above them in the table.
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It was Dike’s arrival at Barnsley last January which spurred the much smaller South Yorkshire club to an unlikely run to the promotion playoffs, where they were beaten by Swansea City in the semifinals. Dike scored nine goals in 19 games for the Tykes.
There were rumors of Premier League clubs being interested in Dike following the end of his loan to Barnsley, but Orlando City were reportedly holding out for a fee in the neighborhood of $20 million, perhaps leading them to reject a bid (or bids) larger than the $9.5 million they ultimate received.
USMNT strikers Ricardo Pepi, Daryl Dike set for European transfers originally appeared on NBCSports.com