MLS hasn’t failed to produce some exciting talent in recent years, as Chicago Fire’s 18-year-old Jhon Duran has now attracted serious interest from some of the Europe’s top clubs. Premier League giants Chelsea and Liverpool are heading the battle to land the teenager, who has impressed since moving to the MLS side earlier this year. Duran has caught the eye of the Premier League duo after delivering some blistering displays so far in the MLS.
Chicago Fire scouted Duran last year from Colombian side Envigado, bringing him to America at the turn of the year for a mere €1.6 million. The Colombia international currently plies his trade as a right-winger, but is slated to develop as a ‘no.9’ later in his career. Chelsea’s American owner Todd Boehly has reportedly told his scouts in the country to keep an eye on Duran, whereas Liverpool are reported to move in quickly for the teenaged player.
Chelsea, Liverpool both optimistic of luring the MLS talent
MLS has exported a lot of talent over the last couple of years to Premier League with Arsenal and Chelsea leading the charts. The Gunners traded actively with the MLS , bringing defender Austin Trusty from Colorado Rapids for €1.6 million and goalkeeper Matt Turner from Duran’s current employers Chicago Fire for €6.4 million. Chelsea too snapped up 18-year-old ‘keeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire this summer for €10 million fee plus €5 million in add-ons.
The Blues are now planning to take advantage of their relations with Chicago Fire to secure the services of John Duran. The winger has so far recorded an impressive 8 goals and 6 assists in 27 games in all competitions for the MLS side. No wonder Chelsea and Liverpool are on the trail of the youngster, as Chicago reportedly want a fee in the range of €10 million for Duran, the same as they bagged for Slonina from the Blues.
Chelsea have hired new manager Graham Potter last month after the firing of Thomas Tuchel. The former Brighton manager has been handed a long term contract to develop a solid project at Stamford Bridge, wherein he will be provided with a mix of already established players and some exciting youngsters. Boehly has already embarked on the mission, signing two 18-year-olds this summer in Slonina as well as Carney Chukwuemeka for a combined fee of €28.6 million.
Meanwhile, Liverpool too are preparing an official bid to table in front of the MLS club to try and strike an early deal for Duran. The Reds are planning to deploy him as a center-forward, alongside his national teammate Luis Diaz who has occupied the left flank at the club. Moreover, Duran’s robust physicality, lightning pace and ability to fight and win duels makes him a perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp’s system, further accelerating the Reds’ efforts to snap him up.
Duran recently earned his first cap for Colombia in a friendly against Guatemala, coming off the bench at the half-time. The winger enjoyed playing alongside Diaz for 20-odd minutes, who Liverpool think could play a key role in convincing the 18-year-old join him at Anfield. Nonetheless, both Chelsea and Liverpool can fancy their chances in landing the hot-prospect, but should be vary of the reported interest from Spain and Germany as well.