clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Could DeAndre Yedlin go to Inter Milan and end up with D.C. United on loan? Pfffffft.

New, 1 comment

No. The answer is no. But let's refresh our understanding of how MLS allocation works, anyway.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He's the United States Men's National Team's fullback of the future. He's going to Roma! Or Liverpool! Or Inter! He'll be sold for beaucoup bucks this summer! Or maybe this winter! One thing is for sure: the international interest in Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin has picked up since his appearance for the USMNT in Brazil this summer.

And with international intrigue inevitably comes a certain amount of silliness, like this report out of Italy that Inter Milan will buy the Seattle homegrown product and loan him to D.C. United for a year. I haven't seen anybody take this rumor seriously at all, but it makes intuitive sense in some respects - Inter and United share an owner in Erick Thohir, a man who has talked about his desire to send some young Nerazzurri players to the Black-and-Red on loan. Yedlin isn't ready just yet to play significant (any) minutes for Inter's first team in Serie A, so why not loan him to an American club? Seattle will receive a nice fat transfer check for Yedlin, so they won't have any claim to him under MLS roster rules; why not DC?

And that's where it breaks down. As a USMNTer, if Yedlin leaves MLS via fee-paid transfer and later returns - even if "later" is "almost immediately" - he will go through the league's infamous allocation system. The MLS allocation order determines who has the first right to claim a returning player from the US player pool whose rights do not already belong to an MLS club. There are exceptions to this rule for game-changing designated players that the league decides to help buy (think "Michael Bradley" and "Clint Dempsey," not "Yedlin on loan for a year"), but otherwise, the allocation order reigns supreme.

The allocation order applies even if he comes on loan; recall that United used their spot atop the order in early 2011 to claim Charlie Davies on a loan from Sochaux. So Yedlin will almost certainly be allocated through that list.

Right now, D.C. United sit fourth on the list, behind Toronto FC, the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas. If Seattle goes against everything their front office is saying - which is entirely possible - and sells Yedlin in this summer's transfer window, odds are they'll retain his services if there's any loan (because MLS, Calvinball, etc.), but if they don't, three other teams will be able to claim him before United get the chance.

But if Seattle wait till the end of the year to sell Yedlin, the odds get even worse. The allocation order is reset at the beginning of each MLS offseason in reverse order of the previous year's standings. So to start this year, D.C. United were #1 on the list by virtue of their horrendous league campaign in 2013. With a much more successful 2014 underway (knock wood), United will drop well below fourth in the order this offseason. Which would mean that United would have to trade significant assets to move up the list to have a shot at landing Yedlin on what would almost certainly be no more than a yearlong loan.

Even if Inter buys Yedlin, it doesn't matter that Erick Thohir owns both Inter and DCU. MLS gonna MLS.

I really only meant this to be a couple hundred words, but MLS rules are silly, byzantine things. Not unlike this rumor. Here's the TL;DR: It would be fun to see Yedlin in Black-and-Red, and not just to see how Sounders fans would react. But it won't happen anytime soon.