Tyler Adams transfer: Potential reunion with Jesse Marsch as Leeds look to replace Kalvin Phillips

After falling out of favor under new coach Domenico Tedesco near the end of the season, American midfielder Tyler Adams could be on the move to the Premier League. Adams didn’t start RB Leipzig’s most important matches of the season, including the DFP Pokal final and the Europa League semifinals, showing a lack of trust in him by Tedesco. While moves need to be carefully considered by Adams due to his importance to the United States men’s national team in the upcoming World Cup, he’s a coveted player who could find more consistent minutes elsewhere. 

Leeds United and Everton reportedly have the most concrete interest in the midfielder. Everton need depth all over while Leeds look to replace Kalvin Phillips as he heads to Manchester City. RB Leipzig expect between €12-15 million for Adams, according to BILD. This brings the move into an affordable range for cash-strapped Everton. It also gives Leeds a chance to make a handsome profit on selling Phillips while still getting a young asset for the team as Adams is only 23 years old.

Leeds United are expected to submit a formal bid soon at €15 million, according to Sky Sports Germany. It’s unknown if Everton would match that, but this is a move that could heat up quickly for the versatile midfielder. CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs reports that Adams to Leeds is progressing and that there has even been talk of a loan option with a purchase clause, and a permanent deal has also been discussed.

Along with being able to be deployed as a central or defensive midfielder, Adams has the bonus of being strong enough defensively to play as a right back in a pinch, similar to Stuart Dallas. He’s played in the position for the USMNT.

Adams would also be the third signing that Marsch has coached in the past joining fellow American Brenden Aaronson along with Rasmus Kristensen. If the decision comes to Adams, it will likely be an easy choice to move to Leeds United instead of Everton.

Here’s what to know:

Another reunion with Marsch 

Adams could reunite with his old coach Jesse March, who not only oversaw his development in Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls, but also spent a brief stint coaching Adams at RB Leipzig last season before being fired in December. On the pitch, Adams has a limited range of passing, opting to play safer passes than pushing possession forward, but he’s an excellent shield for a back line and could naturally be the man to try and replace Phillips.

Being able to work with a coach who not only knows what he can do — but more importantly, what he can’t do — is critical to Adams’ success if he were to move to the Premier League. With Leeds already adding Kristensen from RB Leipzig at right back, a move for Adams could see Stuart Dallas move back to left back, where Junior Firpo struggled last season.

Moving on from Phillips

Without Phillips, Leeds United have a unique challenge because one player can’t replace what he did in midfield. Phillips not only covered a ton of ground in midfield but was also able to start attacks by himself with pinpoint passing. The closest comparison in the Premier League is Declan Rice of West Ham, who is out of the range of what Leeds can afford, with bigger clubs interested in him. This has caused Marsch and the board to get creative with reconfiguring the midfield.

Marc Roca has already been added from Bayern Munich, and Adams would join him in creating the defensive shield. In front of them, it feels like Marsch is targeting a move to a 4-2-2-2 as Raphinha is likely to depart for Barcelona or Chelsea this summer. Aaronson, Mateusz Klich, Darko Gaybi, Daniel James, Jack Harrison, and Rodrigo can all play in the midfield, supporting the forwards. A shift like this will not only help Leeds maintain pressing cues and retain shape better, but it will also allow their forward four more space to be fluid in transition.

Another area where it helps is depth. Leeds were a team hit hard by injuries last season because the press requires so much from the entire squad. Not only can Marsch change large portions of the team as the Premier League will have five substitutes, but he will have more room to rotate, keeping his players fresh.

The United States of England

Leeds are quickly becoming a destination for players who have come through Major League Soccer and that’s not only because of Marsch. Jack Harrison was drafted by the Chicago Fire and traded to New York City FC in 2016. He also played in college at Wake Forest. After taking the league by storm, scoring 14 goals and assisting ten more in 55 starts, Harrison earned a move to Manchester City in January of 2018. While Harrison was never expected to catch on at City with the team having incredible depth and no room for him, loans to the Championship helped Harrison find a home with Leeds United.

With Aaronson starting his career with the Philadephia Union and Adams starting with New York Red Bulls, Leeds could have three starters next season who began their careers in MLS. It’s quite a trajectory as Miguel Almiron carried the banner for MLS to the Premier League, and it’s time to recognize the growth of MLS as a league, one that can produce talent for the rest of the world.

On top of all of that, the San Francisco 49ers ownership group, 49ers Enterprises, owns part of the club.

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