Most of the remaining big-money transactions involving MLS and its teams have been as buys. Atlanta United’s acquisitions of 24-year-old Miguel Almiron for $8.8 million from Lanus in Argentina and 19-year-old Ezequiel Barco for $15 million from Independiente in Argentina are the two most expensive in MLS history. They have helped the league flip the narrative of it being interested in the old and nearly done, which had been the case with signings like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo.
Now, the league and its teams can take more steps toward becoming known as those that develop players before smartly selling them for handsome profits.
There are plenty of leagues in countries around the world that have become adept at that practice. Teams and leagues in Portugal, Holland, Argentina and Brazil are a few.
The U.S. and Canada with MLS could be next.
“Unless you come here, you don’t realize the amount of potential and talent that this league actually has,” McCann said. “People going for this kind of money shows that there is real quality and real talent in this league.
“If people took notice a little bit more, rather than just the stigma in England and Ireland that this league is old – if you put away that kind of notion and realize that you’d better take a look at this league because there will be a lot more players like Alphonso Davies coming through. Plenty of talent around the league.”