ORLANDO, Fla. – Not yet, but watch this space.
The big Canadian is one of the league’s hottest young players, having burst on to the scene as a rookie in 2015 with a record 17 goals and added another 17 since then.
Still only 21, Larin remains a work in progress, but that hasn’t stopped speculation mounting about a move to England, Scotland, Turkey, Portugal or Belgium. This week it was English Premier League side Everton who were said to be casting eyes in Orlando’s direction, as it seems likely they will be in the market for a replacement for Belgian ace Romelu Lukaku this summer.
Kreis was quick to pour cold water on a speedy departure, but admitted it is a situation the club is going to have to learn to live with, especially if the young hitman continues his torrid start to this season, with three goals in the Lions’ first two games.
“From my point of view it is interesting,” the coach explained after Wednesday’s training session. “I have the inside information, which tells you that it is clearly just speculation. There has been nobody who’s come to us with any offers, there’s been nothing formal, and so for us it is clearly just that, a lot of talk.”
Even if that is the case, the rumors are renewed every couple months, and Kreis is well aware of it. Earlier this year Larin admitted there had been interest from Celtic in Scotland, while Belgium’s Anderlecht – who discovered Lukaku – have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot.
“For Cyle, I would say it’s a good thing,” Kreis added. “He is playing well, he’s been noticed for it, and people are paying attention. I think that is a great thing, not just for Cyle but for everyone involved with the league.”
A move abroad may not be too far in the future for the striker, but the Orlando coach also warns any deal would have to suit all parties. When Portuguese media linked him with some of the country’s top clubs in summer 2016, they quoted the price tag as being “around 4 million Euros” (roughly US$4.3 million). Since that report, he scored five more goals to cap a 14-goal haul in 2016, and has started 2017 in fine form.
“If he keeps doing well I would say, yes, I think the opportunity will be there,” Kreis admitted. “But, at the end of the day, it has to be the right thing for everybody involved, and everybody involved includes Orlando City.”
Kreis thinks the renewed focus on Larin may have in part resulted from the new tactical formation of playing two up top, alongside Carlos Rivas, as opposed to the lone striker role that he filled for his first two seasons.
“Speaking as somebody who has done a fair amount of scouting to look for players, it is nice to see players play in different tactical shapes,” Kreis agreed. “It gives you a better idea if they’d fit in the one you’re trying to play.”