UPDATE: After a report surfaced that two teams were negotiating with DeAndre Yedlin about a possible return to MLS, Brian Schmetzer threw some cold water on the possibility of the Seattle Sounders being one of those teams.
Schmetzer on Yedlin's potential return: "We'd love to have him but there's a mountain of challenges to even have a chance at getting him." Basically confirming what we've been saying.— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) September 25, 2020
A couple weeks into the Premier League season, it appears as if DeAndre Yedlin is not really in Steve Bruce’s plans at Newcastle after failing to even make the gameday roster in either of the first two games. Yedlin has started and played the full 90 minutes in a pair of League Cup matches, but it seems as though he’s very much on his way out.
The problem, though, is that finding a way out is not as easy as it may seem. A story in The Athletic on Tuesday detailed some of those struggles, including the claim that Turkish giants Besiktas are so far the only team that has expressed a willingness to meet Yedlin’s wage demands. The problem is that Yedlin is still under contract for another year, and Newcastle isn’t inclined to simply let him walk for free, according to the story:
While Newcastle hope to recoup at least some of the £5 million fee they paid Tottenham Hotspur for Yedlin in 2016, Besiktas are adamant the right-back should be allowed to sign for them on a free transfer given that he is already in the final year of his contract. As yet, Besiktas are not even offering Newcastle a sell-on percentage. The Istanbul club must also free an overseas player slot in their squad first and could even look to sell Tyler Boyd, Yedlin’s USA team-mate, to make room.
Newcastle have apparently started to explore the possibility of signing Yedlin to a one-year extension and then sending him on loan somewhere, but that plan doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for a variety of reasons.
While Yedlin has previously expressed an interest in returning to play for the Sounders at some point, there’s been no indication that he’s itching to come home anytime soon. The 27-year-old likely feels as though remaining with a high-level European team is his best path toward retaining his spot with the United States national team, and a return to MLS would likely feel like a step back at a time when his performance doesn’t seem to merit that. Despite missing 12 league matches with a variety of injuries last season, Yedlin still made 20 first-team appearances. Newcastle averaged 1.3 points per game in his 10 league starts, slightly better than the 1.1 they averaged in their other 28 matches.
But even if Yedlin were open to returning to MLS now, fitting him into the salary structure here would be challenging. Yedlin makes the equivalent of about $2 million a year, which would easily push him into Designated Player territory. The Sounders definitely don’t have the ability to fit him into the roster without dramatic changes — Nicolas Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz and João Paulo are all playing at a high level and can’t be bought down with TAM — and there’s only one fullback in the league being paid like that, anyway.
That leaves Yedlin in a tough spot. He’s clearly good enough to compete in a top European league and has wage demands that make it very hard for him to play anywhere else. For now, he may just need to bide his time and hope to work himself back into Newcastle’s plans.