The Chicago Fire made global headlines this week by selling young Colombian forward Jhon Duran to Premier League side Aston Villa for a reported transfer fee worth up to $22 million. As of Saturday, at least 16 Major League Soccer players have been sold for over $1 million in the last year.
MLS has never been a more prolific seller of talent in its history.
The Duran sale signals a key movement in this new push for the league to develop and sell talent. The 19-year-old striker was the perfect example of the league's new U22 initiative and what that system can be at its best. The Fire scouted and signed Duran as a 17-year-old ---- before he could even play in the US.
In the two years since, the Fire brought him in and he impressed. He didn't have an overwhelmingly incredible season in Chicago, but when he got playing time he showed immense promise. The Fire leveraged that promise into a massive transfer after reportedly paying an initial transfer fee of up to $2.5 million.
That's the type of roster move the U22 initiative was made to do, and the massive sale if the biggest success to date on the outgoing side.
This new era of U22 signings and Young Designated Players is only going to further increase the sales out of the league. The more succesful sales of young signings and homegrown talent, the more the demand for MLS players will grow abroad.
These developments globally have huge ramifications for Orlando City. In the last two seasons, Orlando invested heavily in young talent from South America. The Lions signed Facundo Torres, César Araújo, Gastón González and other promising players to bolster the first team and have significant resale value later.
With the market continuing to rise for MLS players, the eventual sale of a player like Torres could be significant. When Torres gets sold --- which will happen sooner rather than later --- it will almost certainly shatter Orlando's outgoing transfer record set by Daryl Dike and could even flirt with the league-record sale of Miguel Almiron ($26 million in 2019).
The new era of MLS is unlike anything that's come before it and an extremely exciting time for fans of every club. Between robust academies and smart young signings, the potential for elite players and elite transfer revenues are endless.