One of the most prolific strikers in the MLS will move to Europe. But not just any club in Europe; he is going to play in the UEFA Champions League.
If you haven’t heard the news already, don’t worry. Cyle Larin is joining Besiktas, the reigning Turkish Super League champions. They are also in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, where they will take on Bayern Munich. In other words, Larin could go from facing Minnesota United to face world-class players in Bayern. That’s quite a jump, but one that Larin is ready to make. He has some big shoes to fill, though, as he will take Cenk Tosun’s spot when the Turkey international joined Everton in the English Premier League.
This is not the first international offer that came to Orlando City’s offices regarding Larin. Feyenoord and Lazio already expressed interest in the Canada international, and several Championship clubs enquired about him as well. But the transfer is not just a good thing for both Besiktas and Larin. It is also a great sign for the MLS going forward. It is not common to see European sides taking MLS stars abroad. And that’s a great example of how the league is getting more and more respect all over the world.
It is also a good sign on the business side of the league. Even though there were lots of complications with the transfer, it finally got completed and it seems every single party involved is happy. Orlando City announced they were “disappointed” with the player’s behavior, but who could blame him? European teams don’t come knocking on your door on a daily basis. Especially if you’re a player that is reportedly keen to leave, and if you have accomplished everything you could have in the MLS.
But now the hardest part comes, and it’s all on Larin’s shoulders. The Canadian star needs to show he can get the job done in Europe. He must prove MLS-born players can play anywhere in the world. And while the Turkish League is not on the same level as the Italian Serie A or the Geman Bundesliga, it is still a respectable competition. Does Larin have what it takes to make it there?
His career in the MLS speaks for itself. The former Rookie Of The Year in 2015 has 43 goals in 87 matches across his first three seasons, so we are talking about a player who averages almost 0.5 goals per game. While he is not likely to maintain that scoring pace overseas, he is still one name to keep an eye out closely.
But regardless of whether the move works out or not, the sole transfer is a huge win for the MLS. And it could open the door for several teams (and players) in the coming years.