Image: FC Dallas Twitter
Today a tweet has gone out connecting FC Dallas' Ricardo Pepi to Ajax. The tweet came from soccer freelance writer Chris Smith, who is a contributor to 90min, a website that covers a variety of soccer leagues. Smith wrote a story last week claiming that Pepi will sign with a European club in the next two weeks. (https://www.90min.com/posts/european-clubs-show-interest-as-ricardo-pepi-transfers)
The player himself has said that he is focused on FC Dallas at the moment. He wants to move to Europe eventually but is waiting patiently until that time comes. (https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/ricardo-pepi-preaches-patience-on-european-future-that-time-will-come)
Ajax is known as a selling club and for their ability to develop young talent, which is similar to how FC Dallas operates. (https://thesefootballtimes.co/2019/02/05/how-a-development-model-of-promoting-and-selling-early-is-keeping-ajax-psv-and-dortmund-at-the-business-end-of-the-game/)
Some of the players who came through Ajax are Dennis Bergkamp (a member of Arsenal's Invincible team), Sergino Dest (A current player at Barcelona and the USMNT, and Wesley Sneijder (former Inter Milan player). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AFC_Ajax_players)
A move to Ajax would be good stepping stone for Pepi. At 18 his career is just starting and a club like Ajax would be more willing to further develop him and then maybe transfer him to a bigger club for a profit. With the 2022 World Cup looming, getting minutes is even more crucial for Pepi as he fights for a spot on the roster. He's already helped the USMNT in the Qualifier tournament by scoring 1 goal and assisted on 2 in their 4-0 victory against Honduras. (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2021/09/09/soccer/us-pepi-honduras/)
Other clubs he's connected to, like Juventus and Bayern Munich would be harder to earn minutes for. (https://www.espn.com/soccer/blog-transfer-talk/story/4484835/live-transfer-talk-juventusmilan-keen-on-usmnts-pepi-as-dallas-forward-garners-interest-across-europe)
Dallas already have a player on their roster with a connection to Ajax. Szabolcs Schon was part of Ajax's Academy from 2017-2019 and made an appearance for Jong Ajax, the first team's reserve side.
If Pepi signs with another club, he would still with FC Dallas until they finish their season. If they don't reach the playoffs, then the season would end after November 7th with an away game against the San Jose Earthquakes. He can then travel and train with Ajax but cannot play for them until the Winter transfer window opens in January.
By Melanie G. Isbell