Olympique de Marseille announced the addition of Konrad de la Fuente for a €3 million transfer fee, following a successful medical examination. The 19-year-old American winger signed a four-year contract with the Ligue 1 club through June of 2025. According to ESPN, Barcelona will receive “50% of any future transfer fees.” A previously reported buy-back clause was not included due to French Football Federation rules.
De la Fuente joined La Masia in 2013 and began playing with the reserves in December of 2018. He made his first-team debut last November, appearing in the Champions League against Dynamo Kyiv. Despite frequently training with the senior squad and signing a contract extension that featured a $100 million release clause, the 19-year-old would feature in a mere three matches, none in La Liga.
Unable to break through and with the Catalans reportedly needing money to fund new acquisitions, de la Fuente was squarely in line for a departure. According to ESPN, Barcelona believed that he had “outgrown the B team, [that plays] in the third division, and needs to play regular football next season.” Multiple clubs have been interested over the years, including Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Girona, and multiple Dutch and French outfits.
His new landing spot might be an ideal tactical fit for a young player in need of playing time. Owned by American Frank McCourt, Marseille finished the past season at fifth place and qualified for the next Europa League. The team switched from a 4-3-3 formation to a three-player back line after Jorge Sampaoli took over for Andre Villas-Boas. Last season, the left side of the field was a somewhat revolving door, with multiple players cycling through the lineup. The new manager personally called his new signing to “explain how he will fit into his plans and what his role will be,” which could be viewed as a good sign for his inclusion during the upcoming Ligue 1 campaign.
Still a teenager for a few more weeks, de la Fuente is at an important but not quite pivotal point of his career. He still has time to develop, and the confines of a less challenging but still well-regarded club could provide a smoother path to regular first-team minutes. This appears to be the correct move, a small step downward into a more welcoming environment. With consistent solid performances, the dynamic young winger could start to deliver on his potential and add to his single cap with the USMNT.