Bobby Wood, the U.S. national team forward employed by a relegation-threatened Bundesliga club, is exploring the possibility of moving to MLS this summer, multiple sources told the Insider on Monday.
The Hawaii native has three years left on his contract with Hamburg, which is 5-18-7 and next to last in the 18-team league, eight points from earning a place in a relegation playoff. The club has been in the top flight since the Bundesliga was formed in 1963.
It’s unclear how serious Wood is about moving stateside or whether he is more likely to seek opportunity elsewhere in Europe. However, Hamburg would almost certainly request a transfer fee — Transfermarkt lists his value at $3.8 million — and an MLS club would have to pay him well over $1 million annually.
Wood, 25, is not on MLS’s player allocation list, which is exercised when select U.S. national team members and former league players who were sold for at least $500,000 return to MLS. The list includes Christian Pulisic, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson, Aron Johannsson, DeAndre Yedlin, Tim Ream and Jorge Villafaña.
Because the allocation order — currently headed by the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United — would not apply, any club could place a discovery claim on Wood and enter into exclusive negotiations. A team has, in fact, done so, one source said, but the identity was not revealed. Discovery claims are supposed to remain confidential until a deal materializes.
The MLS transfer and trade window closes May 1 and will reopen July 10.
Wood is having a rough season at Hamburg: 20 league appearances, 15 starts, one goal. He also scored in his only German Cup match. Both goals came in August. He has not played since March 17, hasn’t started in more than two months and been left off the game-day roster the past three matches.
Last season, he posted five league goals and four cup strikes in 33 appearances overall.
Wood ascended to Germany’s top division after a spectacular campaign with second-tier Union Berlin in 2015-16, scoring 17 times in 31 league matches.
He made his senior national team debut in August 2013 and has scored 11 goals in 37 appearances. Five goals came in the latest World Cup qualifying cycle and, had the Americans earned a berth in this summer’s tournament in Russia, he would’ve figured in the 23-man roster. On March 27, Wood converted a penalty kick during a 1-0 victory over Paraguay in a friendly in Cary, N.C.