Konrad de la Fuente is moving on from Barcelona.
The 19-year-old U.S. men's national team winger and Miami native has secured a transfer from Barcelona to Marseille in Ligue 1, ending an association with Barcelona that dates back to 2013 and leaving Barcelona with just one U.S. rising talent now, fullback Sergiño Dest. The transfer fee is a 3 million euros ($3.6 million; Barcelona also has an unspecified sell-on percentage), and Konrad is signed on a deal through 2025.
Konrad moves to a club that operates under American stewardship, with former L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt the club's owner (he has come under fire by Marseille supporters during his time at the helm). Marseille finished fifth in Ligue 1 last season, 18 points out of the Champions League picture, though it did qualify automatically for the Europa League group stage.
Playing time with Barcelona's first team was at a premium for Konrad, who came through the club's La Masia academy and made his first-team debut last season. In all, he totaled just 36 minutes with the first team, spread across one Copa del Rey appearance and two Champions League appearances in the group stage. He featured more prominently for Barcelona B in the Segunda B Division (Spain's third tier), scoring six goals across 22 appearances.
Konrad made his USMNT debut in a November friendly vs. Wales, starting and playing the opening 71 minutes in the 0-0 draw. He was not called in as part of the recent camp that included the U.S.'s Concacaf Nations League triumph.
The move comes a year after Konrad had signed an extension with Barcelona through 2022 that included a $100 million release clause.
"It has always been my dream to play for the first team, and that is why I want to stay here—to try to achieve it," he said in a statement at the time.
That ultimately didn't come to fruition, and the writing was on the wall for Konrad going forward based on Barcelona's early approach to the transfer market. The club signed veteran forwards Memphis Depay and Sergio Agüero on free transfers to bolster an already-crowded attack, which made any first-team opportunities there may have appeared to be become non-existent. He'll instead compete for playing time at Marseille with a veteran cast that currently includes Polish international Arkadiusz Milik, Argentine forward Dario Benedetto and French attacking standouts Valere Germain and Dimitri Payet.
Marseille is coached by Jorge Sampaoli, the former Chile and Argentina national team manager.
Konrad will be the second young American forward in France's top flight, with Tim Weah carving out a role on title-holder Lille. He's under contract through 2024. Weah helped Lille win its first league championship in a decade, and Konrad will look to do something similar at his new stomping grounds. Marseille, which is tied with Saint-Etienne for the most league titles in French history (10), hasn't topped Ligue 1 since 2010, though it has finished in second three times since.
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