What a past 18 months it's been for United States forward Gyasi Zardes. He lit up his sophomore season in Major League Soccer to the tune of 16 goals and made his USMNT debut in January 2015. Now, according to reports out of Belgium, he could be on his way to Europe.
Zardes is talking with Belgian Pro League club KRC Genk about a possible transfer. Reputable American journalist Greg Seltzer confirmed the original report on Saturday.
For both Zardes and the LA Galaxy, a transfer of the player makes perfect sense. Los Angeles have brought in two high quality attacking players in Giovani dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget this season making the team's attack very crowded. Steven Gerrard even complicates matters somewhat when he pushes into an attacking role on occasion.
Of course, just because the Galaxy have plenty of options doesn't mean they should sell Zardes. Then you have to start looking at from a business standpoint. The 23-year-old (turns 24 in September) is entering the prime years of his career. As much as we'd like to believe he's "raw" this is likely all he'll become. The Galaxy would be smart to sell Zardes while his value is at its highest.
From the player's perspective, he has proven all he can in MLS. The Belgian league is a fantastic development league and would be a very good stepping stone to a future in one of Europe's top leagues.
Whether a transfer happens before Europe's transfer deadline in September or when it opens again in January, now may be the best possible time for Zardes to test himself in an unfamiliar league. Having to travel to Europe and prove himself all over again is a very risky move, but one that could be hugely beneficial for his personal aspirations and international future.