Canada transfer tracker: Alphonso Davies to Real Madrid? Jonathan David on the move


With the European summer transfer window open and Canada’s men’s national team getting the kind of high-profile visibility they so rarely get during the summer months at Copa America, this could be the busiest season of movement for Canadian players in recent memory.

If you’re Jesse Marsch and the Canada coaching staff, you undoubtedly hope that a strong summer of performances translates to steps up for players at club level. Canada’s new head coach has already shown he prefers leaning on players in good form and logging consistent minutes away from the national team.

So what could a summer of changes look like for Canada’s players?

Some, including one of the team’s stars, are all but guaranteed a move. Others are waiting for the right situation. An impressive Copa America could change fortunes in the transfer market. Yet it would take a Herculean offer for some players to leave their current club side…

Get the latest transfer news on The Athletic

In a class of his own

Alphonso Davies, 23, Bayern Munich


(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Canadian captain’s future is one of the most-discussed topics in this transfer window. Will he stay at Bayern Munich or move to Real Madrid?

As The Athletic reported on June 7, Madrid has renewed interest in the left back but new Bayern manager Vincent Kompany wants Davies to stay in Germany.

Davies’ situation remains fluid and there may not be any more clarity until after Copa America.

“My main focus is on the national team,” Davies said on June 19, when asked about the rumours linking him to Madrid. “As of now, that’s where my head is at. I’ll think about it when we’re past this tournament.”

Definitely on the move

Jonathan David, 24, Lille


(Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images)

David will finally move this summer after four seasons at Lille and seemingly endless connections to clubs big and small. He has one more year remaining on his contract but Lille President, Olivier Letang, recently confirmed David “can leave the club this summer”.

Despite links with Serie A clubs, David appears focused solely on landing in the Premier League with a team in — or which can clearly push — for a European competition spot.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported Chelsea have had talks with David’s representatives over a possible summer move.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, either. David is in the prime of his career. He’s not 20 and in need of tactical schooling or off-pitch maturity. David finished 31st among all players across Europe’s top five leagues in goals per 90 minutes (0.65) last season.

Canada’s new coaching staff have been floored by David’s tactical awareness and mentality through his summer with Canada. Together with the smarter decision-making David showed at club level and more effective shot-taking this season, he should feel confident making the jump to the Premier League.

A few key goals for Canada this summer could drive up his value and add a few more eyeballs, if there aren’t enough on him already.

Liam Millar, 24, Basel


Millar competes against France’s Antoine Griezmann (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

The left-winger has quickly become a staple of Marsch’s starting XI. Millar’s game grew exponentially while on loan with Preston North End this season as he scored five goals and had five assists in 35 Championship games.

There is one year left on Millar’s contract with Basel and, crucially, he has a release clause. A return to Switzerland is not on the cards.

The pace, technical quality and newfound maturity in his decision-making has made him an intriguing option for multiple clubs in England and it sounds like Millar has a strong desire to return to the country in which he developed with Liverpool’s academy side. Whether that is in the Premier League or the Championship remains to be seen. Clubs in both leagues have expressed interest and Championship sides Burnley, Leeds United and Sheffield United are among those tracking Millar heavily through Copa America.

“I want something where I can continue to prove myself. My bigger goal is to play in the Premier League and to prove that I can be a Premier League player. So for me, it’s just (whichever club) can get me to that stage,” Millar told The Athletic.

After bouncing around on loan deals for three of his last five seasons, Millar and his young family want some stability. Look for Millar to try to ink a longer-term deal this transfer window.

Ike Ugbo, 25, Troyes

Ike Ugbo

(Ben Roberts Photo/Getty Images)

Despite not being selected to Canada’s Copa America squad for what Marsch called “personal reasons,” Marsch has said Ugbo could return to the team.

If and when the centre-forward does get called up again, it likely won’t be with him playing for Troyes. They were relegated out of France’s Ligue 2 last season and keeping Ugbo is not feasible.

Ugbo’s 11 goals in 38 Championship games — split between two loan deals with Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday — mean he has generated interest from the top end of England’s second division for the upcoming season. It’s a safe bet Ugbo ends up with a club of that profile. A return to Sheffield Wednesday, where Ugbo had most of his success last season, isn’t unlikely.

Possibly changing clubs

Theo Bair, 24, Motherwell


(Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Few Canadians had better club seasons than Bair. After struggling to get proper playing time with the Vancouver Whitecaps, followed by up-and-down seasons in Norway and with St Johnstone in Scotland, Bair dove deep on video of his performances and other technically gifted strikers around the world.

The results with Motherwell were evident: the 24-year-old scored a whopping 13 goals in 33 Premiership appearances, tied for fourth in the league.

His coming out party hasn’t gone unnoticed. While it’s believed some of Scotland’s top clubs, such as Rangers and Celtic, have shown interest in adding Bair, multiple mid-to-bottom table clubs in Germany have also emerged with enticing early proposals.

Bair sees his role and future projection as vital to any possible move. After not getting the opportunities he wanted in MLS and a shaky first season in Scotland, he wants to be thoughtful with the next step in his career.

“If a transfer were to come, I want to go as high as possible and test myself. I think I need to be tested physically. I need to go and prove myself right: I believe I can score at the highest levels and I don’t want this season to be a one-off,” Bair told The Athletic.

Derek Cornelius, 26, Malmo


After winning the double in Sweden and becoming a regular starter, a fresh challenge is likely needed for one of Canada’s new starting centre-backs. There are still two years left on Cornelius’ contract but clubs in Ligue 1, the Bundesliga as well as some of Greece and Denmark’s better teams have been tracking him.

It’s early but it still feels like the composed and effective Cornelius is in contention for a 2026 World Cup starting spot. Moving to the best level possible is a priority.

Dominick Zator, 29, Korona Kielce


(Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

The defender was one of Canada’s final cuts from their Copa America squad. Given their continued lack of depth at the back, it’s possible Zator re-emerges later in 2024: his most pressing goal is becoming part of the 2026 World Cup squad and moving to a bigger club would help his cause.

The good news is that is likely to happen with just one year remaining on Zator’s contract in Poland, although it does not contain a release clause.

Zator has had inquiries from clubs in Turkey as well as other Polish clubs. A move up to a Polish team that could compete for European Conference League qualifying spots would be preferable and some of those teams have shown genuine interest, with rivals recognizing Zator’s role as a leader.

Luc de Fougerolles, 18, Fulham

(Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images for Premier League)

The up-and-coming and cerebral defender made his debut with Fulham’s first team this season while also playing in Premier League 2, the English top flight’s development league. Fulham see De Fougerolles as an important player for them long-term and are invested in his future, having also recently lost centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo to Chelsea on a free transfer.

But De Fougerolles is still so young and playing in the Premier League next season might be overwhelming for his development.

The idea of a loan out next season remains a possibility with the intention of logging heavy playing time. Don’t discount De Fougerolles going to a strong League One side to jump into their starting XI. If that leads to game-after-game of first-team experience rather than coming off the bench in the Championship, that could benefit him long-term.

Likely staying, but a strong Copa America could change things


(Louis Grasse/Getty Images)

With his physical attributes, smooth dribbling and passing ability from the middle of the park, Canada don’t have another player like Kone in their midfield. His performances against France and the Netherlands in June were his best ever for the national team, showing steadier glimpses of his game-changing ability.

Clubs in top European leagues, including West Ham, are starting to take note of his progress. But Kone is still early in his development. Given how quickly he burst into MLS without a ton of formal academy training, clubs are likely waiting to see how he handles more games against top competition… like in Copa America.

When asked about his goals for the next step of his career, Kone kept his mind firmly planted on Watford and the Championship.

“For us to get promoted,” he said. “Or to at least reach play-offs because we have the quality for it and the ambition for it.

“I’m under contract for three more years. I’m looking forward to going back to (Watford).”


One of Canada’s new starting centre-backs has turned heads with his remarkable speed, quality in the air and ability to play from out of the back — though Argentina’s forwards proved a lot for Bombito to handle at times in Canada’s Copa America opener.

Here’s what’s going to be key for Bombito: he’s already 24, so if he wants to move, his next stop will likely have to be a short one. It’s believed Bombito wants to find a club that can focus on his development and be prepared then to move him on quickly.

If Bombito does move, keep an eye on France as a landing spot. If that’s a mid-to-low level team in the Ligue 1 table, that should still suit the centre-back if it means playing time is part of the equation.

But a move remains far from a given. Would the Colorado Rapids, right in the thick of the play-off picture of MLS’ Western Conference, be open to moving one of their starters midseason? Or would Bombito consider re-upping with Colorado, staying longer and then moving directly to a league higher up the European food chain?

Going nowhere

Tajon Buchanan, 25, Inter Milan

Tajon Buchanan

(Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

The winger’s January transfer to Inter Milan was one of the bigger moves in Canadian men’s team history. As such, he’s not going anywhere.

“I think I still have a lot to prove in Italy,” Buchanan told The Athletic.

After winning the Scudetto and starting to earn more and more minutes coming off the bench towards the end of last season, Buchanan still has to work his way up the depth for the upcoming season. 

Jacob Shaffelburg, 24, Nashville SC

(Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

The fearless and likeable winger has quickly become a darling among men’s national team fans for his game-breaking dribbling and attacking prowess. Shaffelburg changed the dynamic of the Canada’s game against Argentina when he came on — this is very much the Shaffelburg that Nashville SC fans have come to appreciate (and make Toronto FC fans wonder why he was let go). Shaffelburg has three goals and four assists in 20 appearances for Nashville this season, highlighted by a brace against Lionel Messi and Inter Miami in the CONCACAF Champions League Cup.

It’s all been part of a meteoric rise for the 24-year-old Shaffelburg, who has become one of Marsch’s most preferred substitutes without any lengthy formal academy training as a teenager.

Yet it still might be too early for a move for Shaffelburg. He’s still such a raw player.

Yes, there have been recent inquiries on Shaffelburg from some of Liga MX’s bigger clubs as well as teams in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. And those European countries’ general ability to develop players feels like the right move for him. Just not yet.

Alistair Johnston, 25, Celtic


Johnston (left) won the Premiership with Celtic (Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

If there were ever a Canadian made for the oft-rough and tumble Scottish Premiership, it’s Johnston.

“He is an absolute monster on the pitch,” Bair said. “I’ve seen him clash with a bunch of guys. I’ve had guys come in at half-time and say to me, ‘That Johnston is a menace. He’s kneed me in the butt, he’s elbowed me in the neck’. He’s relentless and is a lot better on the ball than people think.”

Johnston has quickly become a consistent starter while winning the double with Celtic this season. His contract runs until December 2027. Given how much he’s playing and how early it is in his development in Europe, a move this summer won’t happen.


Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.