Bogert: Joao Moutinho targeted by European clubs

May 14, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Orlando City SC defender Joao Moutinho (4) moves the ball
May 14, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Orlando City SC defender Joao Moutinho (4) moves the ball / Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City left back Joao Moutinho is being courted by several European clubs according to MLS transfer guru Tom Bogert. The Portuguese defender is in the final year of his contract and would be free to sign anywhere in the world in the winter.

AZ Alkmaar and FC Twente are both fairly large Dutch teams, not on the level of the big three -- Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV -- but on that next tier, while Slovan Liberec is a team in the Czech league. Moutinho started his football career in Europe, developing with Sporting CP in his home country of Portugal before coming to the United States to attend the University of Akron.

While there's no record of him directly stating he wants to return to Europe, most young players -- Moutinho is just 24 -- are willing or interested in a move across the pond. A move to Holland, or potentially France or Portugal as he's previously been linked to, would most likely be an upgrade for Moutinho personally, but there are plenty of things that factor into a player's career decision other than level of competition.

Los Angeles FC drafted Moutinho first overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, but traded him to Orlando City in a straight swap for Mohammed El-Munir. In his three plus seasons for the Lions, he's made over 60 appearances and become one of the best left backs in all of MLS, even making the team of the tournament for the MLS is Back tournament.

Injuries have been the defining set back for Moutinho in his Orlando City career, as the Portuguese defender's battled several lower body injuries that've led to constant absences over last few seasons. This year, he dealt with an injury but over the last month has been healthy and arguably Orlando's most consistent performer.

With other suitors circling, Orlando will have to cough up quite a bit of money to retain Moutinho's services, but his skill on the ball makes him an invaluable piece of the squad who will be incredibly difficult to replace. Trying to resign Moutinho needs to be Luiz Muzzi's top priority from now till December, and hopefully the former Akron Zip decides to stay in purple a little while longer.