DeAndre Yedlin's transfer to Tottenham from the Seattle Sounders has been finalized, both clubs announced Wednesday.
Yedlin will remain with Seattle through this MLS season and join Tottenham ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
Yedlin's contract is for four years and worth $4 million, according to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman.
The 21-year-old right back emerged as a European target this summer with his strong performance for the United States men's national team at the World Cup in Brazil.
Yedlin has been named to the MLS All-Star team the last two years.
“I first want to thank everyone involved in my development. From my family to youth coaches to the Sounders, I am lucky to have such a strong support system,” said Yedlin. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play with Spurs in the English Premier League, and I look forward to helping the Sounders win a championship this season.”
During a Wednesday conference call, Seattle GM Adrian Hanauer confirmed that Yedlin’s rights remain with the Sounders and that they’ll be transferred to Tottenham either in January or when the European window re-opens next summer. Yedlin is not a Spurs player on loan. He’ll be paid his MLS salary (a base of $80,000 this year) in 2014 and during the first half of 2015 as well, if necessary.
“To be honest, I haven’t even thought about next year,” Hanauer said. “But we have a contract with the player that pays him a certain amount next year and I can’t imagine, knowing that he’s leaving six months into the year, that we would renegotiate and change that compensation.”
The timing of Yedlin’s departure depends on several factors.
“I think [Tottenham] would like to assess where things are with their club [in January] and the potential work permit issues with DeAndre, and assess how he’s been doing with us and whether it’s the right time to fit him into their squad,” Hanauer said. “Or whether they make the decision at that time to let him stay with us for another period of time until the summer window a year from now.”
Players from outside the EU must have participated in 75 percent of their national team’s competitive matches during the previous two years in order to receive a UK work permit. Yedlin doesn’t qualify, meaning Spurs will either loan him to another European club or file an appeal.
Hanauer said the Sounders first learned of Tottenham’s interest in Yedlin “just before” the clubs met in a July 19 friendly.
“Then I would say that it progressed relatively slowly but consistently from that point forward, and there were other offers and interests in the interim,” he said. “But I think we believed that Tottenham would be a really good home for DeAndre and I think DeAndre – I dont’ want to put words in his mouth -- but I think he and his representation would say the same thing.”
AS Roma, Genoa, Olympique Lyonnais and Anderlecht were among the teams linked to the 21-year-old defender. Yedlin was eager to move abroad following his breakout World Cup. The Sounders were eager to cash in on their homegrown star while interest was at its highest. But it takes more than that in MLS, where the league office is an integral part of the negotiating process and must sign off on any deal. Hanauer wouldn’t say whether the move was delayed because the league held out for a higher fee or a more desirable destination.
“Our communication was extremely collaborative … [MLS officials] have a lot of experience in these transactions. Quite frankly, more than I do, and I certainly took their advice in certain regards along the way,” Hanauer said, noting that MLS, the Sounders and Spurs worked together on the deal that brought Clint Dempsey to Seattle last year.
“I’ll be the first to say that there are times when the relationship between the team and league office can be complex and we’re not always on the same page," he added. "But that’s not to say that’s a bad thing. It’s just of the reality of two different groups being involved in how we manage our teams. But in this case, and quite frankly in more cases than not, having the league involved and kind of a little more objective, a little less emotional, a little more strategic about how we’re thinking about the entire league, is from my perspective a huge positive and again I think in this case, it helped land the result.”
- Chris Johnson & Brian Straus