Back on July 13, Chicago Fire striker Jhon Duran bagged a brace, needing only 16 minutes to do it, and it was all the scoring that transpired in a match that lifted struggling Major League Soccer side out of the Eastern Conference basement. In that 2-0 win over Toronto FC, Duran showcased the skill set that is catching the eyes of the big boys in Europe. Duran, 18, scored eight goals and registered three assists in 27 games this past season, drawing the attention of Liverpool FC.
A couple weeks after the Merseyside club made their inquires into the teenage Colombian scoring sensation, their arch-rivals, Manchester United followed suit.
That was according to reports in the Sun, posted about a week ago. Numerous media outlets, all across the world, picked up on this transfer narrative, with the Daily Mail claiming that United and Liverpool are in “a race for the £10 million-rated forward’s signature.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Duran moves on, to either club, in the next transfer window but today saw his teammate, Xherdan Shaqiri, field a question about this transfer rumor. Shaqiri was asked if he has any advice for the kid.
“Jhon Durán is a very good player,” the Switzerland international said during a pre-World Cup media availability.
“He still needs to learn a lot of things. He’s still young, and he can improve himself every day. But he has very good qualities to be sure, one day, for any good club in Europe.
If Duran makes the move across the pond, it might start a trend of making the Chicago Fire a bit of a farm system club for the Premier League elites, given how homegrown goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina was sold to Chelsea for $10 million this summer.
The former Liverpool midfield maestro says the best advice that he can give to Jhon Duran is to just let him figure it out for himself.
“Everyone has his own decisions, and he needs to make it, but we know in Europe it’s another level, and it’s more difficult,” Shaq said.
“There are many issues you have to deal with, and Jhon Durán is a talent who for sure has the quality one day to play in Europe. But when? He has to know it. He needs a lot of playing time. That is what is important for a young player, to get better, because if you go to Europe and you don’t play any minutes, it’s also difficult.
“You have to deal with these kinds of things and I hope one day he can make the step and go to Europe and show himself.”
The Fire are off until next season. Shaqiri and the Swiss will begin their ’22 World Cup campaign against Cameroon on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 4:00 a.m. CT in Group G. United take on Real Sociedad in the Europa League tomorrow (match preview here) Liverpool battle Tottenham Hotspur in the league on Sunday.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”Follow paulmbanks