Pepi And Dike Realize European Dreams In Quest To Become USMNT's Starting Striker
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On Saturday, West Bromwich Albion and Orlando City confirmed that 21-year-old striker Daryl Dike was headed to the Championship side on a four-and-a-half-year deal for a transfer fee of $9.5 million.
Dike again joins forces with French manager Valérien Ismaël, who was Barnsley's boss last campaign when Dike scored nine goals in 19 second division appearances while on loan. Orlando is also in line to receive performance-based bonuses and 20% of any future sale.
"I am extremely grateful to everyone at Orlando City for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to play for this incredible club," Dike said. "This was a great place for me to start my career and I am thankful to the club for helping me toward this next step of my journey. I will always cherish my time here with my teammates, coaches and staff, but I'll especially miss the fans and the incredible atmosphere they create for each home game."
New year. New signing.We're delighted to welcome @USMNT international forward @DarylDike to the club on a permanent contract. ✍️
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) January 1, 2022
Dike was then at The Hawthorns on Sunday to watch West Brom's 1-1 draw with Cardiff City.
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) January 2, 2022
On Sunday we also got a new twist in the Ricardo Pepi transfer saga. A week ago Fabrizio Romano told us that the 18-year-old Texan was about to sign with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, but now Romano says he's joining Augsburg for $20 million.
Ricardo Pepi's today in Munich together with his agent in order to undergo medical tests and sign five year deal as new Augsburg player for $20m fee. Here-we-go to be officially confirmed soon #transfers
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 2, 2022
In terms of upfront money, that would make Pepi the most expensive outgoing MLS homegrown player ever (Alphonso Davies initially cost Bayern Munich $11 million, but that fee has increased with add-ons).
The FC Dallas striker was supposed to complete his physical on Sunday before making the news official, so you'd have to expect confirmation on Monday.
Announce Pepi pic.twitter.com/3wjHwij9SJ— Alex ⭐️⭐️ (@amcalabrese12) January 2, 2022
It's an open race for the USMNT's striker position, and the player who starts scoring in Europe is going to have a clear case to make it his own. Matthew Hoppe has only made two LaLiga appearances with Mallorca this campaign while struggling with injury, Josh Sargent has zero goals in 17 Premier League appearances with Norwich and Nicholas Gioacchini has zero in 15 Ligue 1 appearances for Montpellier.
Jordan Pefok has 11 goals in 17 games for Young Boys, but that comes with the caveat of it being the Swiss Super League.