After a breakthrough season, James Sands might be on the move prior the 2022 MLS Season, as Glasgow Rangers is interested in acquire him during the winter transfer window on a loan with option to buy from New York City FC.
Sands constantly appeared in the starting XI of NYCFC during the 2021 season and his versatility was a pivotal part for the team on their successful run to become MLS champions for the first time in its history.
The 21-year-old can play both as a defender and midfielder, which gives him and extra appeal for teams interested in him, as he can fill more than one role if needed. He was part of the USMNT squad that won CONCACAF Gold Cup this year against Mexico.
James Sands was NYCFC’s first homegrown sign, as in 2017, the Citizens extended him his first professional contract when he was only 16 years old. He debuted that same year coming off from the bench to substitute Andrea Pirlo.
He’s been a regular starter for his team in the last three seasons and after and outstanding 2021, he’s poised to make the jump to Europe, sooner rather than later.
On the 2021 MLS Season, he started 26 games during the regular season, missing six games when he was playing the Gold Cup with the US National Team. He also played the four games NYCFC disputed on the playoffs and eventually become MLS Champion.
On a span of three seasons, Sands has played 76 games for the Citizens, but he’s yet to score his first goal as a professional player, as he only has been able to assist on one occasion.
He was part of Berhalter’s Gold Cup Champion squad
His debut with the USMNT senior squad coincided with his first CONCACAF official tournament, as he played 14 minutes coming off from the substitute’s bench in a game that the Stars and Stripes won 1-0 against Haiti, on July 12.
He then proceeded to become a starter for the remainder of the tournament, which eventually led to the USMNT becoming champions of the 2021 Gold Cup with a 1-0 victory against Mexico National Team in overtime.
After his performance in the Gold Cup, Gregg Berhalter called him for the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers on four games, although he only played against Honduras on September 9. Sands started that game but was substituted at 73’.
Europe: his next destination
With only 21 years, the New York-born could be living his last days as a Citizen. Scottish side Glasgow Rangers has been inquiring about his addition over the next transfer window. We still have yet to hear what NYCFC has to say, but it’s evident that his promising career points towards Europe.
James Sands could be joining fellow American Cameron Carter-Vickers in the Scottish League and specifically in Glasgow, although Carter-Vickers plays for Ranger’s most hated rival, Celtic FC.
Sands is not the only Citizen on the move
Reports from other NYCFC players been targeted by teams for the winter transfer window have been coming to surface after the Citizens won the MLS Championship.
Taty Castellanos, another important player for New York’s squad, has been linked with teams such as West Ham United from the Premier League and Palmeiras from Brazilian Serie A. The latter already made a bid of $12.5 million, but NYCFC rejected it as they have valued Castellanos somewhere around $15-20 million.