Not content with the success of one American player, Juventus is on the hunt for more. Chief football officer Fabio Paratici has assembled a list comprised of potential signings from Major League Soccer.
Tuttosport reports the club “has set its sights” on several young talents including Caden Clark. This fall, the New York Red Bulls midfielder took the soccer world by storm, scoring three highlight reel goals in eight appearances. His debut injected energy into a flagging team searching for an identity after firing a manager, and he was a key factor in qualifying for the playoffs.
Only 17 years old, Clark will be able to sign for a European club in May of 2021 and join in the ensuing summer transfer window. Juventus should have plenty of competition for his signature, but, according to previous reports, the race to secure his services may already be over.
MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle suggested RB Leipzpig has a transfer clause that can be triggered “by 2022.” In a follow-up report, Manuel Veth of Transfermarkt revealed “there is clause in place that could see Clark join RB Leipzig.” J.J. Post, writing for Once a Metro, further confirmed “100% deep and immediate interest” from Leipzig and Salzburg, with “ongoing talks between the clubs.”
This eventual move to Germany is expected as synergy transfers between clubs under the same umbrella have become the norm. Additional interest from a global power at the stature of a Juventus is flattering but unlikely to change what seems to be an existing handshake agreement. Red Bull also has a demonstrated history of giving opportunities to youth, while Serie A imposes pesky limits on non-EU players resulting in many beginning their time in Italy on loan at other domestic teams. However, if the right financial offer presents itself, perhaps the option to cash in will become more appealing.
This would not be the first bidding war or tense negotiations in his nascent career. Despite never having played for Minnesota United, the New York Red Bulls were forced to pay $75,000 in General Allocation Money (and a possible sell-on or escalation) to sign their academy player to a Homegrown contract. The original demand was significantly higher and involved a long negotiation, perhaps a heroic last charge of outdated MLS territory rules.
For now, the report from Tuttosport indicates mere “interest” in a young player, which is to be expected after such a superlative start to his career. There will be more rumors and reports over the next year, particularly if Clark continues to develop and perform at his current level. Whatever the future holds, the stay with the New York Red Bulls will be brief and last another season at most.