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Speculating The Foreign Transfer Market For Charlotte FC - Left Back

By Tyler Trent

Former Charlotte FC left back/centre-back Christian Fuchs - photo courtesy of Charlotte FC

With year two for Charlotte FC quickly approaching, the need for more depth and power in the roster is a must for the team if they want to improve on their up and down year one. I took a look at potential foreign transfer targets at key positions Charlotte will hopefully fill before year two begins. Left back, Midfield, Attacking Midfield, and Right Wing are the positions most desperate for reinforcements or difference makers. These will be divided into a four-part series, with each covering a single position and potential targets.

Our first position of need will be at left back. At the moment, our options at left back are Joseph Mora and Adam Armour. In a recent interview with Jessica Charman, Armour mentioned he would likely be moving into a more attacking role. That leaves Mora as the only real option for left back and it’s a position that could be improved to accommodate someone with both defensive qualities and attacking prowess.

Left Back - Dream Signing

Quentin Merlin as an academy player for FC Nantes - photo courtesy of FC Nantes

Quentin Merlin (FC Nantes – Age 20) is a young, promising French talent at left back. Despite only being 20 years old, he’s already made 41 appearances in Ligue 1 and has a been a player at all French youth levels. In his first season, he started 21 of the 28 matches he appeared scoring 2 goals and providing 3 assists. Merlin is solid in defense and a regular contributor to the Nantes attack. Transfermarkt currently estimates his value at 7 million dollars which would put him out of Charlotte FC’s price range for a left back. Since the research for this article began, Merlin's value has rose by 2 million dollars!

Left Back - Realistic

Lund celebrates - photo couresty of BK Häcken

Kristoffer Lund (BK Häcken – Age 20) is another young left back currently playing in the Swedish Allsvenskan. He has represented Denmark at youth levels, but also has US citizenship making him an intriguing target as he would not count against Charlotte FC’s international spots. He recorded 6 assists this season in his 25 appearances for the 2022 Swedish Champions BK Häcken. Transfermarkt currently valuates Lund at 1 million dollars which is in range with an expected signing for Charlotte.

De Cuyper dribbles with the ball - photo courtesy of Club Brugge

Maxim De Cuyper (KVC Westerlo – Age 21) has lit the Belgian Pro League on fire to start this season. In 17 starts, the young Belgian has scored 3 goal and recorded 6 assists. Transfermarkt currently estimates his market value at 2.5 million dollars. However, he is currently on loan at Westerlo from Brugge, which means this transfer would likely have to wait until his loan ends in June 2023.

Pedro Amaral (Rio Ave – Age 25) is a more veteran option for the left back position. Coming up through the prestigious Benfica youth academy, he has been playing left back at Rio Ave since 2019. He’s off to a good start in the current Portuguese Primeira Liga with 1 goal and 2 assists. However, he has been prone to picking up yellow cards with 5 already this season. Transfermarkt currently valuates him at $750,000 which puts him on a similar transfer value to Joseph Mora.

Murilo (HJK – Age 26) most often plays as a left wingback in a back 5 for the Finnish champions. He is strong and physical, but also very quick and likes to take players on as he moves up the pitch. He is currently valued at $440,000 and has one year left on his current contract which is a real value signing if he could perform as well in MLS. In the 2022 season, he started 59% of games, so Murilo could be looking for a move with more playing time available as well.

Left Back – Hidden Gem

Pedrinho in his debut for Athletico - photo courtesy of Athletico Paranaense

Pedrinho (Athletico Paranaense – Age 20) is a left back I’m excited to see more of. He started 8 games this season for Athletico. He’s very eager to dribble forward and make decisive passes into the final third. He recorded 2 assists for the season. Last season he only started 4 games with minimal impact on the matches. Pedrinho is an interesting player that has a high potential for a lower cost than previously mentioned left backs, he is currently estimated to be worth $500,000 although an increase in his playtime and production will likely see that estimate being on the low end. Athletico may be willing to move Pedrinho on as they have another star left back in Abner.

Final Thoughts

Ideally, Kristoffer Lund and Maxim De Cuyper would be perfect candidates for Charlotte FC. Lund’s US citizenship makes him a really valuable target, but Maxim De Cuyper seems to have a really high upside with a strong offensive presence that Charlotte could use to compliment Joseph Mora’s strong defensive play for the squad. Both Lund and De Cuyper are currently estimated at reasonable transfer fees for an instant MLS starter. Each has their own upside with Lund a more balanced option and wouldn't use a valuable international roster slot. De Cuyper's offensive capability sets him apart from many left backs, but his defensive qualities could be an issue.

If Charlotte wants to go a little cheaper on left back, Pedrinho provides an interesting choice, but would require an international spot to be used. This move would be a little more risky as Pedrinho doesn't have the experience of the other players mentioned above. Pedrinho is a very talented offensive left back, but would likely take time to adjust to playing in Charlotte. However, with several Portuguese speakers in the team, he could begin to gel faster with their help.

Taking into consideration all the above, Kristoffer Lund seems to be a perfect signing to compliment and instantly improve the Charlotte FC squad if the team decides to look into a foreign league for that reinforcement.

All player values have been sourced from Transfermarkt – they are not representative of actual transfer fees that would be required to sign a player and, in many cases, will be lower than the actual value of the player.

The transfer market is much more difficult than looking at players values. This article does not take into account player salaries and intangibles.