Loons to trade Aziel Jackson to St. Louis City
Midfielder who played last season for MNUFC2, was blocked on organizational depth chart by Emanuel Reynoso
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota United is on the verge of trading young attacking midfielder Aziel Jackson to MLS expansion franchise St. Louis City, a source told the Pioneer Press on Friday.
The trade has been submitted to the league office for approval, the source said. MNUFC declined comment Thursday.
The Loons will receive $150,000 in allocation money for Jackson, plus incentive bonuses if Jackson plays a certain amount of MLS games next season and a sell-on percentage if Jackson moves to another club, the source said.
Jackson earned $70,633 last season after being acquired from New York Red Bulls in April 2021. He had a two-year contract, with three club option years.
St. Louis City, which joins MLS next year, expressed interest in the 21-year-old central attacking mid throughout 2022 as Jackson starred for MNUFC2, the club’s reserve team in MLS NEXT Pro league. He scored 10 goals, had seven assists, led the league with 70 key passes and was named to the league’s best XI.
The Loons put Jackson on a season-long loan to MNUFC2, and given league rules, he couldn’t play in MLS in 2022. The pathway to the first team at his position is jammed with MLS All-Star Emanuel Reynoso entrenched at that spot, but natural depth behind the Argentine is thin.
MNUFC felt the gap between MLS and MLS NEXT Pro was substantial in its first season and therefore challenging to be a barometer on whether players were ready to contribute to the first team. Jackson’s size at 5-foot-7 begged another question about whether he could make the jump up to a more physical level.
Loons manager Adrian Heath was intrigued by Jackson’s potential, but also said that Jackson needed to be more consistent in his work rate during the week.
Jackson, who was loaned to USL League One club North Carolina FC in 2021, has expressed a desire to receive a bigger opportunity, and St. Louis appears willing to give it to him.
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