In the summer of 2023, there were ample transfers involving players in the USMNT squad throughout Europe. Goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards were the subject of moves. Also, these players either left or joined clubs in each of the top-five leagues in Europe. For some, these moves have worked well. Not only has their form increased, but they are helping their club be competitive for trophies. As a result, their relative value for future transfers, and the prospect of representing the national team is up.

For others, these moves have been mistakes, in some cases disastrous. Whether it be the desire to get more playing time or challenge in better competition, poor performances have led to criticism from fans and benching from coaches. Consequently, their confidence suffers, and performances with the USMNT may struggle as well.

Rating the USMNT transfers in Europe from the summer

Christian Pulisic
  • Transfer: Chelsea to AC Milan
  • Grade: A

There was no denying Pulisic had ability during his time with Chelsea. Several things went wrong at Stamford Bridge, though. Dips in form, rampant injuries, coaching turnover, transfer rumors and other issues plagued his time in England. The American always had the threat and potential he showed during the ‘lockdown era’ when he scored or assisted in seven of the nine games after the restart.

The move to Milan has allowed Pulisic to play freely. The first two games demonstrated the kind of player Milan was getting. Two goals in two games set the tone for Pulisic’s season. The American won Serie A Player of the Month in December after four goal contributions in five games. Even though Milan is not the favorite to win any of the competitions it is in this season, Pulisic has played a role in the squad’s positive performances after a disappointing 2022/23 campaign.

Ricardo Pepi
  • Transfer: Augsburg to PSV Eindhoven
  • Grade: B-

Ricardo Pepi’s move to Augsburg in January 2022 should have set the striker up for success. Yet, a lack of output early on led the German club to move on quickly. A loan move to Groningen provided Pepi a taste of the Eredivisie. An impressive 12 goals in 29 appearances for Groningen was enough to have PSV Eindhoven interested. The Dutch giants are reaping the rewards of that interest now.

Pepi has scored eight goals in 32 games in all competitions this season. That is tied for second on the team, even if it is 23 goals fewer than Luuk de Jong, who tends to start up top for PSV. That has been the major concern for Pepi. His playing time with PSV Eindhoven has not been adequate. Despite making 19 appearances, Pepi has started just one game in league play. Consequently, he is playing fewer than 18 minutes per appearance in the Eredivisie. He is still just 21, and playing time will come. He has done well to take advantage of his time, albeit minimal, with PSV this season.

Sergiño Dest
  • Transfer: Barcelona to PSV Eindhoven (Loan)
  • Grade: A+

There was a time last season when AC Milan wanted nothing to do with Sergiño Dest. It left the American off the Champions League roster, instead opting for unproven talents. Likewise, Barcelona was ready to offload the full-back. A return to the Eredivisie has been sensational for Dest, who has been one of PSV Eindhoven’s best players in its currently unbeaten season domestically.

Consistently strong performances and dependency at right-back have grown at PSV Eindhoven. His defensive development has made the possibility of pushing forward, something he has a knack for doing, more feasible. It helps to play in a league that is not as stringent as Serie A or even LaLiga. Plus, he has fantastic teammates around him at a high-flying PSV side. This may make Barcelona interested in bringing Dest back from his loan at the end of the season. If he stays in the Eredivisie, he has a good base to build off.

Brenden Aaronson
  • Transfer: Leeds to Union Berlin (Loan)
  • Grade: D

Leeds spent big on Brenden Aaronson. A relatively disastrous first season in the Premier League did not go to plan for Aaronson nor the club. While the midfielder is still an investment at the age of 23, moving to Union Berlin on loan should have provided Aaronson with more experience against top competition while Leeds fought for Premier League promotion.

Aaronson would have to wait until his 18th Bundesliga appearance with Union Berlin to score his first goal. Granted, it was an important one, as it gave Union Berlin a crucial three points to expand the gap away from the relegation zone. That summed up the status as a substitute in the Union Berlin ranks, having started just six of the club’s games domestically this season. Those performances have not gone well. It will be interesting to see what Leeds does with Aaronson if the club can earn promotion to the Premier League.

Yunus Musah
  • Transfer: Valencia to AC Milan
  • Grade: B-

Musah emerged as one of the best midfielders for the USMNT during the World Cup in 2022. Consistency at Valencia earned the 20-year-old a move to Milan, where he would team up with Christian Pulisic. It was a major jump in Musah’s career, but it is one he has done decently with. Like many of the other players on this list, Musah sacrificed playing time for a move to a bigger club.

Musah was a regular starter in Milan’s squad to start the season. A brief stint away because of an injury has since relegated the midfielder to a substitute role. In terms of output, Musah has one assist. Fittingly, it went to a Christian Pulisic goal that won Milan three important points. Even if Americans may want to see more Musah at the San Siro, there is no denying the experience the 21-year-old is getting. If he can turn out positivity in his brief stints on the field, he can return to being a starter in Stefano Pioli’s side.

Weston McKennie
  • Transfer: Leeds to Juventus (Return from loan)
  • Grade: A+

Last season, the loan move to Leeds was seen as a way to get McKennie out of Juventus. The club did not want him, but Leeds’s relegation meant the midfielder would return to Turin. Still, Juventus worked to offload McKennie somewhere else. No club wanted him, so McKennie was stuck with the Bianconeri. That could not have been a better result for the club and the player.

McKennie has truly been on top of his game. Even if the goal output is not as high as in previous seasons, McKennie has been instrumental in keeping Juventus toward the top of the table. Recent form from the club let it slide out of the title race, but qualification for the Champions League is on the cards. Flashes of brilliance have been common for McKennie, and Juventus is likely to retain the American for the future.

Timothy Weah
  • Transfer: Lille to Juventus
  • Grade: C-

Whereas Turin has been great for McKennie, Timothy Weah has stalled in Serie A. Breaking into one of the best teams in Italy was always going to be a challenge. Still, the lack of appearances in the black-and-white kit must be concerning for USMNT fans. Weah has been a consistent force when it comes to scoring for the USMNT. Yet, with Juventus, Weah has yet to contribute a goal in league play.

Some of that is because of Juventus’s style of play. Massimiliano Allegri uses Weah as a right midfielder, and that prioritizes defensive play. On the bright side, Weah is getting massive defensive experience. Unfortunately, he is not developing the goal-scoring ability that the United States would use him for in his traditional right-wing spot.

Matt Turner
  • Transfer: Arsenal to Nottingham Forest
  • Grade: D

If there is one positive to take from Matt Turner’s transfer from Arsenal to Nottingham Forest, it is that the American received much-wanted playing time. Turner started 17 games for Forest in the Premier League to go along with three games in cup competitions. However, those performances have been brutal at times.

Errors, sometimes blatantly attributed to Turner, have cost Forest points. The last straw for the club was the game against his former club. A goal from a remarkably tight angle slid through Turner’s legs to open the scoring. Other calamitous issues have come from things Turner was otherwise great at. Shot-stopping was always Turner’s calling card with the USMNT and Arsenal. That has since been a major hurdle with a 67.5% save rate. Forest has brought in Matz Sels to serve as a goalkeeper while Turner finds his footing.

Tyler Adams
  • Transfer: Leeds to Bournemouth
  • Grade: N/A

With Leeds and the USMNT, Tyler Adams emerged as one of the best Americans in Europe. Adams missing time at Elland Road played a direct role in the club sinking into the Championship. Bournemouth, which was a candidate to suffer that fate in 2023/24, brought Adams on as a stout option in the midfield. Yet, he has played just one game, a substitute appearance in the League Cup, since moving to Dean Court. Adams had surgery on his hamstring in October.

By all accounts, this would be a failure for Bournemouth, as a $30 million move in the summer has led to no appearances. Yet, the Cherries have done well enough to all but ensure a spot in next season’s Premier League. Therefore, the club does not have to rush Adams back into play, which would mean he can fully return to fitness before playing. This can still be a positive signing in the long run.