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Five to sign: Goalkeepers who could change MLS fortunes

Neuer? Buffon? Amazing, but out of reach. Here are five realistic targets who would upgrade MLS defenses.

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Ken Inness/Zuma Press/PA Images
Ken Inness/Zuma Press/PA Images

When it comes to international signings in Major League Soccer, most of the important coming and going happens in the winter transfer window.

But that doesn’t mean the summer transfer season can’t be useful, perhaps more for shoring up and plugging holes than for larger-scale roster rebuilding. Still helpful, nonetheless.

So we’ll go position by position (goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, forwards) with five players who could potentially help MLS clubs during the league’s secondary window, which opened recently.

Note: this is not a wish list, so you won’t see a Lionel Messi or a David Luiz. The top guns at their positions are either not going anywhere, wildly beyond the spending limits of most MLS clubs, or both. The players listed here will fall under the plausibly attainable category.

First up, goalkeepers, a position which no teams are more desperate for than the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.

Kristoffer Nordfeldt – Swansea City

Nordfeldt was a once-promising young Swedish international, one who could perhaps use a career reboot.

Back in Sweden, while starting at a young age for Brommapojkarna, scouts from major sides in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all came for a look-see. He signed with and started for Dutch club Heerenveen before joining up with Swansea two summers back. But now 28, into the third year of a three-year deal, he just hasn’t broken into a starting spot at the Liberty Stadium.

Nordfeldt has seven caps for Sweden’s senior national team.

Teams that might be a good fit: LA Galaxy, Minnesota United

Asier Riesgo – SD Eibar

Angel Diaz/EFE/PA Images

Angel Diaz/EFE/PA Images

There was a time in MLS when paying $500,000 or so on a transfer fee for a goalkeeper may have been out of the question. But today’s MLS, with its various methods of reducing player costs while not directly impacting salary cap, is far more ripe for exploration of new territory.

Riesgo is 33, so his valuation on the market is likely headed downward, rather than upward. He’ll soon be out of contract, so the small La Liga team could be looking to get something now, depending on whether they’d like to sign their experienced ‘keeper to a new deal. Eibar got him from Osasuna on a free transfer (he was a back-up at the La Liga club for five seasons before becoming the starter at his new address in 2015) so any money received on the back side would look like a good bit of business.

He also has an interesting claim to fame: he was the first goalkeeper to stop a penalty kick by Leo Messi. That was back in 2009, when Riesgo was on loan to Spain’s Recreativo Huelva. Few Spanish goalkeepers last long around La Liga without being good with their feet. That could make Riesgo a good fit for teams that prefer to play out of the back.

Teams that might be a good fit: Columbus Crew, Portland Timbers

NEXT: Looking to London, Monterrey for inspiration