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Is Emerson Hyndman stuck in Premier League purgatory this season?

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Rumors of a move away from Bournemouth came and went without a move happening.

Rangers v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Despite whispers of potential loans, Emerson Hyndman did not make a move prior to the close of one of the many winter transfer windows. For now, the American midfielder will remain with Premier League club Bournemouth, where he’s made a mere three cup and zero league appearances this season.

Hyndman was linked with a return to Rangers and a drop down the pyramid to reeling, bottom-of-the-table Championship club Sunderland. He had a very successful loan stint with Rangers last season, but The Daily Echo described that rumor as “wide of the mark”. The Sunderland deal appears to have fallen through when the club opted to bring in Liverpool youngster Ovie Ejaria on loan.

Cherries manager Eddie Howe was noncommittal on a move, claiming a few weeks ago that he “wouldn’t close it off and say no but [he] wouldn’t say yes.” He went on to praise Hyndman’s performance in the FA Cup:

“I think Emerson did really well against Wigan here and did very well when he came on the other day,” said Howe. “I’d love to give him more opportunities but that is difficult as the position he plays is one of our strongest in terms of numbers. I’m very pleased with the way he’s attacked the season and how well he has done behind the scenes, so we will make the right decision for Emerson.”

Those are some very complimentary words, but the “right move” – be it temporary or permanent – for Hyndman is most likely away from Bournemouth. Since joining the club from Fulham in 2017, he’s made a total of six appearances (all in cup fixtures) and has only made the bench twice in the Premier League.

In a December interview, Hyndman – who has two-and-a-half years left on his contract – stated his belief that he’s close to regular playing time with first team. “It’s about trying to fight through it and try to get a chance here and there,” he stated to The Echo. “I think I’m on the right path… The manager tells me I am doing well in training so that is all I can really do, keep working hard and keep improving and just try to get in his team.”

While many transfer windows are closed on January 31st, there are still quite a few left open, most notably the MLS transfer window. Kristian Dyer reported on mutual interest between Hyndman and “several MLS clubs”.

Many would view such a loan as a step backward for the Dallas, Texas-native, but at some point the need for consistent playing time overrides the quality of the league in which it’s occurring.

If Hyndman is going to make a move stateside, then his future location will be determined by MLS’ mildly complex rules. As of January 30th, he is not on the league’s “Allocation List”, so his rights would be subject to a Discovery Claim. (If I’m wrong, let me know in the comment section.)

Any discussion of a MLS move (beyond Dyer’s original report) is, of course, speculation and conjecture. It’s possible that Hyndman, with continued hard work in training, could earn a spot in Bournemouth’s midfield rotation, despite spending the last two seasons as an outsider on match days. These are the common trials and tribulations of a professional soccer player, constantly searching for the best situation that combines challenge, comfort, and security.