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The impact of recent summer window signings

By Brian Maurer and Tyler Trent

Olivier Giroud with France. Photo courtesy of Getty.


The summer transfer window has historically brought many of the biggest and most impactful signings to MLS. In past seasons, Charlotte FC's Sporting Director Zoran Krneta stated that the summer window is when immediate impact players who can slot directly into the starting lineup are signed.


Here is a list of big summer signings that have been made over the years and the impact they have had on their clubs:


Tim Howard


Howard joined the Colorado Rapids in the summer of 2016. This move did not help Colorado much in the long run but it was a win-now move that got them to the Conference Finals that season.


Cucho Hernandez


Hernández has been one of the best recent summer signings in MLS. The Colombian striker joined the Crew in July 2022 and has 58 goal contributions (44g/14a) in 71 appearances. He also helped Columbus win the MLS Cup last season and make a run to the Concacaf Champions Cup final this year.


Christian Benteke


Benteke was signed in the summer of 2022. His influence alone has not been able to improve DC United significantly but he has been one of the top-scoring strikers in MLS in 2024 with 14 goals.


Hector Herrera


The Mexican international technically signed the deal in March of 2022, but the contract became effective beginning with the summer transfer window. Herrera's midfield presence instantly upgraded Houston Dynamo and played a large part in its 2023 US Open Cup Victory. Herrera also made the MLS Best XI last season.


Lionel Messi/Sergio Busquets

It pretty much goes without saying the impact these signings made for the league and Inter Miami. Regardless of your opinions of the coverage of Messi in the league, there's no doubt that these summer signings turned a team in turmoil into becoming the inaugural Leagues Cup Champions and now a contender for the shield in the 2024 MLS Season.


Riqui Puig


The Barcelona connection stays strong in this list with Puig's transfer to Los Angeles Galaxy in August 2022. The Galaxy signed the Barcelona player on a free transfer. This transfer provided immediate impact on a Galaxy squad that had been in mediocrity for a while. After the spark of the Puig signing, the Galaxy have continued to add strong complementary pieces to its squad and now are a dangers team again.


Denis Bouanga


Again in the summer of 2022, another league-changing player was signed. Unlike some of the other scenarios where a player joined a mediocre team, Bouanga joined one of the league's strongest teams in Los Angeles FC and turned them into an even bigger threat, winning MLS Cup that season. However, his real breakout came in the 2023 season where he was tasked with being the main man for the champions and lead the league with 20 goals only losing to eventual MLS Cup Winners Columbus Crew.


Emanuel Reynoso


The Argentine playmaker arrived to Minnesota United in September 2020. The creative spark was felt around the league and even more so in the following two seasons. While the end of his time in Minnesota was disappointing, the impact he made from his arrival until his final season was without doubt.


Mauricio Pereyra


The Orlando City midfielder had 30 goal contributions in his five season with the club. Pereyra arrived in the 2019 season where Orlando City finished 22nd in the league but showed improved in the handful of games that Pereyra played. In the following season, the club vastly improved finishing 4th.


Chicho Arango


Arango took no time to warm up when he arrived to LAFC in August 2021 scoring 14 goals in his first 17 matches on his way to winning Newcomer of the Year. In the following season, Arango scored 16 goals and won MLS Cup with LAFC.


Nicolas Lodeiro


The Seattle Sounders hit on a summer signing with Lodeiro in July 2016. The Uruguayan midfielder scored 41 goals for the Sounders before making a move to Orlando City during the offseason. When Lodeiro arrived, the Sounders were at the bottom of the table. With this boost, the Sounders were able to finish 4th in the West and went on to win the 2016 MLS Cup with Lodeiro being named newcomer of the year, among many other accolades. The Sounders returned to the Finals in the next season, but fell to the previously mentioned Toronto team fueled by Giovinco.


Raul Ruidiaz


Ruidiaz was signed by Seattle Sounders in June 2018 and since has been one of the most consistent attacking players in the league scoring 71 goals in 131 matches for the club. Ruidiaz helped make history when Seattle Sounders broke the CONCACAF Champions League curse beating Pumas 5-2 and 3-0 over two legs, becoming the first MLS team to win the tournament since 2000. Ruidiaz has also since became the club's leading MLS goalscorer, surpassing club legend Freddy Montero.


Lorenzo Insigne/Federico Bernardeschi/Sebastian Giovinco


The Italian take over in Toronto in July 2022 instantly boosted the potential and quality of the Toronto FC squad. Although things didn't go to plan, the quality and danger of the Toronto attack was formidable with Charlotte FC being on the receiving end one too many times.


However, the arrival of fellow Italian Giovinco in July 2015 provided the same attacking threat, but with even more production and two MLS Cup Finals appearances. Giovinco scored 68 goals in his four season with Toronto and won MLS Cup in 2017.


Ryan Gauld

The arrival of Scotland's Ryan Gauld likely went under the radar of many in July 2021, but the Scot quickly became one of the best attacking midfielders in the league in each of his four seasons so far. Gauld has scored 32 goals and 25 assists in 95 appearances for the Whitecaps.



Signings that will be joining MLS this summer


Several deals have already been announced or reported for team's looking to make an upgrade this summer. Charlotte FC and Atlanta United have recently been linked with Newcastle United's Callum Wilson. Here are some other promising signings that have been reported or confirmed for other teams that could shake up the latter half of the season.


Osman Bukari - Austin FC - Confirmed


Olivier Giroud - Los Angeles FC - Confirmed


Ezequiel Ponce - Houston Dynamo - Confirmed


Marcel Hartel - St Louis City - Reported


1 Comment


I expect Girond will make a significant impact for LA, a world class proven goal scorer

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