[AMERICANS ABROAD] German Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin's acquisition of 19-year-old Bryan Arguez from D.C. United is an indication of the growing interest of foreign clubs in American players.
Arguez never played an MLS game in his one season at D.C. United, but Hertha agreed to pay a fee of approximately $300,000 for Arguez in a deal finalized on Tuesday.
Arguez is the third youngest player after then-18-year-olds Michael Bradley (MetroStars to Heerenveen) and Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake to Benfica) to be transferred from MLS to a foreign club.
Arguez, who was raised in the Miami area and was a reserve on the 2007 U.S. Under-20 World Cup team, originally went to Hertha for training but impressed so much during its winter camp on the Spanish island of Tenerife that it decided to buy him.
The 6-foot-1 Arguez, whose contract extends through the 2010-11 season, played well as a holding midfielder in a friendly against Austrian club Rapid Vienna and will be given a shot at playing on the first team. Hertha resumes league play this weekend against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Hertha, mired in 12th place in the Bundesliga at the winter break, went on a signing spree during the January transfer window.
It also signed 21-year-old Bulgarian striker Valeri Domovchiyski on loan from Levski Sofia, 22-year-old Serbian defender Gojko Kacar from FK Vojvodina and 22-year-old Brazilian forward Raffael from FC Zurich, where he played for current Hertha coach Lucien Favre.
Arguez is the fourth member of the U.S. U-20 World Cup to move abroad since the end of the tournament.
Adu, Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew to Spanish club Racing Santander) and Sal Zizzo (from UCLA to German club Hannover) signed during the summer transfer window. (Szetela, who has yet to play for Santander, is headed on loan to Italian Serie B club Brescia.)
Already in Europe were Bradley, Gabriel Ferrari (Italy's Sampdoria) and Preston Zimmerman (Germany's Hamburg).
U-20 defender Ofori Sarkodie of Indiana University is on trial with Aalesunds in Norway.