D.C. United wide man Paul Arriola is reportedly receiving serious interest from leading clubs in Europe and from Mexico’s Liga MX.
Arriola, who has rapidly become one of the most important players in D.C. United roster, has bagged four goals and assisted twice in 17 appearances in a D.C. jersey this season, with his professionalism and dedication to the cause catching the eye of scouts at many top clubs.
There is an increasing number of European clubs looking across the Atlantic at top U.S. football talent. Major League Soccer (MLS) has enjoyed increasing exposure in recent years thanks to global broadcast deals and the arrival of superstars such as Wayne Rooney.
The impending launch of FOX Bet, a new sports betting platform in conjunction with FOX Sports, could also ramp up that exposure further.
Arriola joined D.C. United back in August 2017, signing for a record transfer fee of $3m, as well as allocation money to cover his academy rights to LA Galaxy. Since then, his performances from both right-wing and an attacking right wing-back role have really caught the eye. He’s also been performing well on the international stage for the U.S. national team. He struck his fourth and fifth goals for the U.S. senior squad on duty at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which may also have alerted possible suitors to Arriola’s development.
Arriola ticking the right boxes for clubs in Europe and Mexico
According to Roger Gonzalez of CBS Sports, there is also interest in Arriola from sides in Mexico’s top flight. The reason being that Arriola holds dual nationality status having Mexican descent, so he would be classified as a domestic player in the roster of any Liga MX side. Arriola has enjoyed some much-deserved downtime following his country’s exploits at the Gold Cup, but the 24-year-old Californian could have a big decision to make over his future if clubs in Europe – and most notably the UK – try to buy him before Europe’s August transfer window closes.
British clubs will no doubt be doing their homework on Arriola. He’ll need to meet work permit requirements in the UK, which require overseas players to have appeared in three-quarters of their national team’s games in the last two years. If a British club were to try and sign Arriola, the size of the transfer fee certainly wouldn’t deter a Premier League or Championship team from making a move.
If interest in Arriola is as significant and “big-time” as Gonzalez reports, the ownership at D.C. United have a very difficult decision to make. On the one side, the club doesn’t want to weaken its own roster and leave themselves light in offensive options. However, the club equally needs to consider Arriola’s own personal ambitions and whether he harbors a desire to play in Europe.
Miguel Almiron a perfect example for Arriola to follow
The MLS is rapidly becoming a pathway to Europe for some of the best talent from North and South America. You only have to look at the way Venezuelan playmaker Miguel Almiron has adapted to life in the English Premier League with Newcastle United, to see that the superstars of the MLS have potential well beyond the U.S. Almiron has already visibly impressed the new Newcastle boss, Steve Bruce who waxed lyrical to HITC performances in pre-season, despite missing a penalty kick. Almiron is set to link up with Brazilian starlet Joelinton this season, with the latter joining the Magpies in a big-money move from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim. That’s an exciting prospect for Almiron, despite the backdrop of ownership uncertainty regarding Mike Ashley. Players like Arriola will surely look at the opportunities to improve themselves in Europe and play alongside better team-mates as a major attraction – despite having Wayne Rooney as a team-mate at present.
Two seasons in the MLS is quite a long time for any player with aspirations to move up the football ladder across the Atlantic. At the age of 24, Arriola will know that a move now can secure him a long-term contract for the best years of his playing career.