Following the transfer of the Philadelphia Union’s Brenden Aaronson to Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg last week, it was only a matter of time before the Colorado Rapids very own wonderkid Cole Bassett received similar European attention.
Though Bassett has received interest from abroad in the past, including training stints with SC Freiburg, TSG Hoffenheim, and—most notably—English giants Arsenal, according to Tom Bogert of MLSSoccer.com, offers for the Littleton native are starting to flow in.
On what makes Cole Bassett one of MLS's top young talents and what's next for the US youth int'l. #Rapids96— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) October 21, 2020
Also, per sources: Austrian club Rapid Vienna and Swiss side Lausanne are interested in Bassett. Freiburg have had multiple bids rejected. https://t.co/FtFoovmBXo
Bogert reports SC Freiburg of the Bundesliga has made multiple offers, with the first bids for Bassett coming in 2019, while Austrian club Rapid Vienna and Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport are also following Bassett.
Rapids General Manager Padraig Smith had this to say about the young midfielder: “I think Cole can be a national team player and can certainly play at a high level in Europe.” He also added, “We’ve had offers for Cole in the past from European clubs, but we didn’t feel they matched our valuation of Cole.”
Bassett has scored four goals, as well as adding four assists this season, identical production to fellow highly touted youngster Aaronson, but in significantly fewer matches. Aaronson tallied four goals and four assists in 22 appearances. Bassett did it in just nine. Aaronson will be joining Austrian giants RB Salzburg at the end of the 2020 season for a reported $6 million, with as much as $3 million in add-ons, along with a 10%-20% share of any future transfer.
This makes one wonder: How much might the Rapids make off of Bassett in a potential sale to Europe?
Bassett’s contract expires in 2024 with a club option for 2025, so the club is at no risk of losing Bassett for free or for a discounted price anytime soon. If Bassett had a similar price tag as Aaronson, the Rapids could make as much as $10 million off of the midfielder—a massive fee and a testament to the Rapids Development Academy, which has also produced the likes of Sam Vines and Sebastian Anderson.
The clubs rumored to be interested in Bassett are all at high levels in European football, as well.
SC Freiburg just barely missed out on Europa League football last season, while Hoffenheim is a consistent top 8 side in the Bundesliga, making occasional appearances in European football. Rapid Vienna is one of the top Austrian sides and is a regular contender in the Europa League, while FC Lausanne-Sport currently sits in second place in the Swiss Super League. Arsenal, another club supposedly interested in Bassett, and one of the most famous teams in the world, requires no introduction.
All are very attractive clubs for a potential move for Bassett, with Freiburg being my personal pick for the club where he’d be the best fit.
Whether a transfer for the highly rated youngster comes this upcoming winter, in the summer of 2021, or sometime beyond, the hype and excitement behind Bassett is justified, and at only 19 years, he’s only going to get better from here.