What once seemed like a foregone conclusion that Konrad De La Fuente would stay at FC Barcelona has become uncertain amid reports of a new suitor led by a familiar face among Americans.
De La Fuente’s contract talks with Barcelona have stalled, and he is considering a move to Hertha Berlin, currently managed by former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. According to ESPN, De La Fuente is considering a move to join Klinsmann at Hertha, which would make him the latest young American to make the jump to the Bundesliga.
Klinsmann has helped transform Hertha Berlin since taking over the struggling club, which is now on a four-match unbeaten streak with Klinsmann in charge.
Hertha Berlin has received an infusion of cash from the increased investment of German businessman and majority owner Lars Windhorst, who recently increased his ownership stake in Hertha Berlin to the maximum-allowable 49.9 percent. That move coincided with the appointment of Klinsmann as manager in his first coaching job since being fired as USMNT head coach in 2016.
De La Fuente’s contract at FC Barcelona expires in the summer, and he could leave on a free transfer at that time, but a winter move to Hertha Berlin could occur if Barcelona and Hertha Berlin agree on a fee for the Miami-born winger.
Barcelona reportedly made De La Fuente a contract offer, and progress was believed to be made on him staying at the Camp Nou, but Hertha Berlin’s aggressive pursuit, and the prospect of earning first-team minutes, has De La Fuente considering a change.
De La Fuente started for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team at the summer’s Under-20 World Cup, with the Americans making a run to the quarterfinals.
One of the youngest players on that team, the 18-year-old De La Fuente is actually eligible for the next Under-20 cycle, though he could also force himself into the conversation with the U.S. Under-23 team if the Americans succeed in qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.
A push for the USMNT wouldn’t be out of the question if he completed a move to Hertha Berlin and earned regular minutes. The USMNT’s need for wing options could lead Gregg Berhalter to fast-track the speedy De La Fuente under the right circumstances.