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Grading the Revs’ 2022 summer transfer window

Our staff weighs in on the Revs’ summer transactions.

SOCCER: JUN 19 MLS - Minnesota United at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Revolution were quite active during the summer transfer window. Here’s a summary of the team’s actions:

  • Sold forward Adam Buksa on Jun. 15, 2022 to RC Lens
  • Sold goalkeeper Matt Turner to Arsenal with a release date of Jun. 24, 2022
  • Added defender Ben Reveno on Jun. 1, 2022 from Revs II
  • Added forward Giacomo Vrioni on Jul. 5, 2022 in a transfer from Juventus
  • Loaned forward Jozy Altidore on Jul. 29, 2022 to Puebla FC until the end of December
  • Esmir Bajraktarević became eligible for the first team in August
  • Traded midfielder Sebastian Lletget on Aug. 3, 2022 to FC Dallas
  • Added Christian Makoun on Aug. 4, 2022 in a trade with Charlotte FC
  • Added midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi on Aug. 5, 2022 in a trade with LAFC
  • Added goalkeeper Clement Diop on Aug. 5, 2022 in a trade with Inter Miami CF

As you can see, there was a lot. Here’s how our staff graded the Revs for their actions during the summer transfer window.

Seth: B-

The Revs have struggled this year. They were bounced early from the CONCACAF Champions League and have only collected seven league wins (7-7-9 overall). With this in mind, it’s positive that Bruce Arena was active during the summer transfer window.

It was inevitable that Buksa and Turner were sold, and I’m fine that they left mid-season so they could contribute in the Champions League. Unfortunately, Turner suffered an injury that prevented him from participating.

Vrioni joins the Revs with a proven pedigree having scored 19 goals in the Austrian Bundesliga. Other scorers, such as Taxi Fountas, have found success when they made the move from Austria to the United States and there are signs that Vrioni can do the same, even if he missed a good opportunity in his second game with the Revolution.

Vrioni’s arrival likely meant that Altidore’s time was going to decrease, so it makes sense to loan him. The hope is that Altidore can score a few goals before the Revs have to make a decision on him during the off-season.

Lletget was actually performing well for the Revs, but Arena noted that the trade to Dallas “was both personal and soccer-wise.” After signing with the Revs, the midfielder said that he wanted to play in the middle, but he was largely used as a winger before departing. If the Revs want to continue to play with wingers, it’s understandable to move on from Lletget.

In fact, Tajouri-Shradi seems to be a better fit for the way the Revs are currently playing. He’s a dynamic winger, who could play opposite of Dylan Borrero, or at least provide a nice attacking option off the bench. The issue is that the 28-year-old has recently been hampered by injury (161 minutes in 6 appearances in 2022 so far).

The Revs needed some defensive depth behind Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell. Omar Gonzalez has struggled since his arrival. Jon Bell has looked better recently after a slow start but he was listed as “out” on the most recent availability report. Signing Reveno is fine, especially after a solid outing in the U.S. Open Cup, but I don’t expect him to play much this year. Makoun could be a factor as he’s a promising, left-footed, 22-year-old center back.

Adding a veteran goalkeeper is a bit of a surprise since the Revs already have four on their roster. That said, I think Diop, who Arena coached in Los Angeles, could be the backup next year.

In the end, this feels like 2020. Arena shook things up by making some moves that will hopefully lead to a late run. Tajouri-Shradi could be a big piece but he needs to stay healthy and Makoun will likely play some minutes in the coming months.

My “B-” score might be viewed as too favorable, but I like the Revs were active instead of standing pat. I also think that these moves don’t really handcuff the Revs going into 2023. Makoun’s guaranteed compensation is $200,000. Tajouri-Shradi’s is $647,860, which is less than Lletget’s $1,023,750. These numbers are courtesy of the MLS Player’s Union.

Greg: C

I think this was Bruce Arena’s biggest window so far in his tenure with the Revolution. Following key players like Adam Buksa and Matt Turner leaving, a collapse in the CCL, disappointing results in the first half of the season, and three transfer windows with not much added to the squad, the heat was turned up on Arena and Co. to bring in some reinforcements to finish 2022 strong.

Vrioni was a great start to the window and will likely be the difference maker on how we look back on this summer. Kudos to the team for realizing Jozy Altidore was not going to fill Adam Buksa’s shoes and committing the third DP spot to a forward with a great goal scoring record in Austria. Along that line of thought, kudos to Bruce for letting Altidore leave on loan, getting minutes elsewhere instead of forcing him into the lineup, hoping Altidore would regain form.

But outside of the Vrioni move, is this team stronger than it was last week?

The team didn’t address central midfield (unless they intend to move Makoun to a defensive midfielder role) and took away an option in Lletget.

Speaking of Makoun, he found his way to the bench for Charlotte. He has a high ceiling at only age 22, but is he an upgrade for the position on day one?

Tajouri-Shradi adds a winger to the right side which has been an apparent need in recent matches, but he’s battled injuries for LAFC this year. Will he come in healthy enough to make an impact over the final stretch?

Diop likely won’t see the field this season as long as Petrovic is healthy. This was likely the Revolution checking a box for a much needed backup goalkeeper for next season, as Jacob Jackson will be recovering from knee surgery and Brad Knighton and Earl Edwards Jr. may not be back.

Overall, none of these moves are bad, but Makoun could be a project, Tajouri-Shardi’s health is a question mark, and cashing out on Lletget strikes me as sacrificing an option in the midfield to getting his salary off the books for next year.

The Revolution do have time to add free agents to the team, so I’ll amend my grade if there is another shoe to fall. But in total, these moves make me feel much better about 2023 than 2022.

Josh: C

I must applaud the club for considering the player’s input into moves. Matt Turner, Adam Buksa, Jozy Altidore, and Sebastian Lletget were keen on moving away from New England. Instead of dragging the process, Bruce accepted it and acted upon their desires to put them in the best positions. Something you did not see in the pre-Bruce Arena era. In return, we got a good amount of cash and roster flexibility.

Before I get negative, I have to applaud whoever in the scouting department who discovered Djordje Petrović. I don’t know where we may be. Yet, imagine where we may be if he came earlier.

I can talk for hours on Jozy, but I won’t. The loan to Puebla is ideal for both parties. Let’s hope he gets in form for the Revs bench in 2023 or does well enough to secure a move.

I wish Lletget got more time in New England. Yet he was not working well in Bruce’s system. Like Jozy, the move was good for both parties, and considering we made $100,000 more than we paid for him, it’s an okay deal.

The Revs needed to secure another striker due to Jozy’s disappointment. Vrioni looks promising, but I have not seen enough of him to give a verdict. Let’s hope he can recreate the offensive impact Buksa had on the Revs.

The addition of Ben Reveno seemed reactionary to me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s impressed with Revs II, but I felt the Revs could survive moving Omar down the depth chart and add before the deadline, which they did.

As Seth has mentioned, it seemed like a repeat of 2020, where Bruce scrambled to add bodies and evaluate what stuck. I think Bruce is looking to salvage 2022 and see if Makoun, Diop, and Tajouri-Shradi will fit into the Revolution’s future.

The Diop move makes sense. Jackson’s out until May, Knighton’s contract expires, and Edwards with an option. This move is Bruce preparing for 2023 as he secures a #2 goalkeeper.

Tajouri-Shradi is a physical winger who will add some needed pace to the Revs attack. The million-dollar question is, will his injury history bite him on the Gillette turf? I will say only $400k is a good deal for him.

Makoun provides some much-needed depth at CB and can play at CDM. However, I am concerned. Now on his third MLS club in two years, will the third time be the charm? Time will tell.

I have to note, the Revs unloaded $925,000 in GAM at the deadline, which may grow to $1.5 million. That’s a lot of money for three guys who may not factor into the Revs future.

Jake: A-

If we’re grading this on “Did the New England Revolution get better this summer?” then clearly we’d be in the D range or worse. But we knew the Revs were not going to be better right away dealing away Buksa, Buchanan and Turner although two of these deals found replacements in the primary spring window.

Giacomo Vrioni certainly has the skillset to succeed in MLS and replace Buksa up top, hopefully he gets to do so in a playoff run but there are more long term things at play here. This is a grade that is a culmination of the Revs most recent moves centered around recognizing things that AREN’T working.

Jozy Altidore wasn’t effective on the field and now he’s out on loan which potentially opens up more minutes for Justin Rennicks. Sebastian Lletget isn’t a winger, though he was doing pretty well at that spot, but New England found a better fit for him in Dallas and recouped most and possibly all of the Garber Bucks used in the initial trade to get him from LA Galaxy. Then flipped those funds to get Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to be a true winger and maybe opened up more minutes for Damian Rivera. Omar Gonzalez clearly didn’t work on the field, and now the Revs have player in Christian Makoun who can get minutes at both centerback and hopefully holding mid where the Revs had a hole on the depth chart.

Clement Diop is a depth option behind Petrovic and Knighton and maybe even Edwards Jr., but maybe he can get a couple of games at Revs II with Jacob Jackson done for the year and then the Revs can re-evaluate the GK corps behind Petrovic in the offseason. Again, a move that has both short and long term concepts going on here.

Do the Revs need more long term help in central midfield and in defense? Yes, especially with rumors swirling around DeJuan Jones in particular. Overall the Revs should get credit for being extremely proactive on recognizing and solving things that aren’t working. MLS trades are a unique way to quickly exchange those problems into answers and the Revs I think have once again proved they’re one of if not the best at league trades.

Is there still a lot of work to do this offseason? Absolutely, but the Revs identified some solid MLS options to bring in for both the short and long term without overspending and can focus on a playoff push with two players in Makoun and ITS that I think will contribute a lot down the stretch. Not every move the team makes can be a DP level talent, and it’s the little moves like these trades that really shore up the roster once you’ve gotten the high end players right.

I think the Revs did really well this window and we’ll see now if this squad can build up towards a playoff run. Right now at best they look like they might sneak into the playoffs and get bounced in the opening round. But if the pieces fit together sooner rather than later the Revs absolutely have a chance to challenge in the East this November and setup what should be a strong 2023.

Sam - D+

I have to say that a small majority of these moves are doing a lot of heavy lifting. Matt Turner and ITS are the biggest moves that stand out. Turner gave New England time to go out and get Djordje Petrovic while ITS looks to be a perfect partner for Dylan Borrero.

Speaking of Borrero, it’s hard to really grade him and Vrioni as we haven’t really seen what they are truly made of. The same could be said of Reveno as he isn’t going to have a major role in 2022.

That leaves the Revs with a whole lot of bad moves. The Jozy Altidore experiment was a failure and while he’s getting playing time down in Liga MX, that doesn’t mean New England isn’t still paying for him.

Sebastian Lletget was a surprise move as he had performed quite well but had played out of his desired position. New England lost a quality player and someone who had been making an impact on the scoresheet for the club.

The Makoun signing very well could be great but it seems like a massive overpay from the Revs. New England gave Charlotte FC $400k in GAM plus some performance-based incentives. For a defender who has struggled to make a home for himself in MLS that is quite a lot.

Diop is also interesting considering that the Revs have five goalkeeper on the roster right now. While Brad Knighton and Earl Edwards Jr cold move on from the team a the end of the season, that is a significant chunk of the active roster for the position.

The Adam Buksa transfer is also quite a complicated situation. While New England got plenty of cash and sent a striker to Ligue 1, the team could use his abilities right now and were forced to find a solution rather quickly. It’s clear that Buksa wanted to head back to Europe and the Revs did right by him but the Revs wish that they had a striker like him still on the roster.

All in all, the Revs roster is in a worse spot than it was before and the expectations of winning an MLS Cup are long gone.


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