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Feyenoord’s Dennis Te Kloese won’t spend big for Ricardo Pepi


Ricardo Pepi’s impressive loan spell in the Dutch Eredivisie not only helped the American forward get back on track at club level, but also attracted the interest of two of Holland’s giants ahead of the summer transfer window.

Feyenoord and PSV have both been linked with Pepi, who ended his loan spell as FC Groningen’s top goalscorer this past season. Pepi scored 13 goals in 36 combined appearances for FC Groningen, who ultimately suffered relegation from the Dutch top flight.

Feyenoord CEO Dennis Te Kloese will have plenty of roster decisions to make this summer, especially with the UEFA Champions League on the club’s horizon this September. Pepi’s future with Bundesliga side FC Augsburg looks unlikely, and although Te Kloese is intrigued by the 20-year-old’s bright future, he isn’t going to spend a large transfer free to acquire the U.S. men’s national team forward.

“I’ve known Pepi for a long time, we were once trying to get him into the Mexican youth selections, but he chose the United States…Pepi is an interesting player,” Te Kloese said in an interview with Dutch outlet 1908 NL.

“But Augsburg once deposited more than 16 million euros for him,” Te Kloese added. “They want to see a lot of that money back when they are sold and we cannot and do not want to pay that.”

Feyenoord already has several key attackers in its squad with Mexican international Santiago Gimenez coming off a 24-goal haul in 2022-23. Danilo chipped in 14 goals as well following his free transfer from Ajax while Orkun Kokcu and Sebastian Szymanski combined for 22 goals from their midfield positions.

A move to Feyenoord doesn’t ultimately guarantee Pepi a starting job in Arne Slot’s squad, especially with the club coming off a first league title since 2017. However, with a deep Champions League run on Feyenoord’s minds, the addition of Pepi could add key depth to the squad and give them another strong opportunity to repeat as Eredivisie winners.

For now Pepi is preparing for USMNT involvement against Mexico on June 15, but once his international window is over, the young forward will have a key decision to make regarding his club future.


  1. As far as the USMNT is concerned, with a little luck Pepi could turn out to be the equal of Balogun.

    It’s not necessarily fashionable but I’d like to see someone try the two of them together.

    • Who do you take off then? Also pushes CP and Gio deeper and gives them more defensive responsibilities. Probably forces 1 if not 2 from the MMA midfield off as well. Maybe it works better but it’s not going to be without some sacrifice.
      4-4-2 Diamond
      I’d see more in a we need a late goal situation but I don’t hate it. We seemingly give up some defense.

  2. Josh Wynder completes his move to Benfica. That brings the total of American youth players to two at Benfica with attacker/striker Marcos Zambrano. Both will be Benfica B players this up coming season.

  3. What I have been saying about the Dutch teams. They aren’t going to pay what Augsburg are going to be asking. My guess Pepi will probably be loaned out again.

    • …though hopefully to a Dutch team. I think it’ll almost certainly happen, too.

      As a youth coach I’ve always had a developmental approach to everything, and I’m old-fashioned. I think unless you’ve got a true phenom like a Pulisic or Reyna who can make that jump to a Top-5 roster at age 17 or so, you’re infinitely better stepping them up incrementally and the next step up from MLS is that second tier of the Netherlands/Portugal/Brazil (though playing in Brazil is not a realistic option for most American players.)

      Pepi clearly wasn’t ready for a Top-5 league, but his dominant (and near-instant) form in the Dutch league tells me he is almost certainly ready for that next step up to a top Dutch squad like Feyenoord or Ajax and they obviously know that too… though as you pointed out they can’t spend like the Bundesliga can. The obvious way to split the difference is either a loan move or a discount sale with either a sell-on or buyback clause, and that’s what I do think will happen.

      There’s no rush, as far as Augsburg is concerned. They signed Pepi to a five-and-a-half-year deal a year ago for $20 million, with a club option to extend until 2027, so they have time. And if Pepi does dominate somewhere like Ajax or Feyenoord (which I think he will, the kid has the goods, IMHO), he will absolutely be ready for a Top-5 team and Augsburg will make their money back and then some. Ajax sold striker Antony for €95 million and Sebastian Haller for €35 million last year, Ziyech for €40 million, and then Frenkie de Jong for €86 million the year before that. If he’s successful at the top of the Dutch league, the money will happen.

      The rest is just a haggle, IMHO. The very fact Feyenoord is poor-mouthing it after shopping him so hard is just par-for-the-course negotiation; they knew what he was likely to cost from the get-go.

      • Q: side point but while you might be reading augsburg accurately on their long term “wait out” or “haggle” strategies, there are abundant weah, miazga, etc. examples of how this is not as fun from the player end. a trope of itself. they play well. we talk up their price and destination but they aren’t bought. they go to the next loan spot and it doesn’t go so well. people start questioning if it’s a mirage or for NT purposes if they are fit and sharp. maybe they get dropped. that is what is often going on for the player while the selling club plays for time and price. i do not think that process is ideal for the player.

    • You do have to remember that transfer season is a bit like a used car transaction. Any information that comes out is part of the negotiation tactics. This is Te Kloese putting on his sweatpants and hoodie and talking about how it was a rough morning cause he had pay the bills and balance the checkbook before he could come look at that low mileage Toyota.

      • As far as the USMNT is concerned, with a little luck Pepi could turn out to be the equal of Balogun.

        It’s not necessarily fashionable but I’d like to see someone try the two of them together.

      • V: balogun and pepi are both athletic, get behind defenses guys, so if you want that, you might as well sit back, stick weah right and some other speed guy left, with mckennie box crashing from AM, and play counter soccer. personally i am fine with that as it’s a lot easier to rattle off names to make that work from the actual pool than it is to conceive of a pep-style technical slow build half court unit that would work from actual personnel. as opposed to on a whiteboard.

        personally i prefer 2 strikers to 3 forwards. but personally i would want either a false 9 or big lunk striker in the mix where we can score goals in a plan B or C if vertical doesn’t work. i lean big lunk because cross and head takes 2 players where false 9 is usually part of a full team concept for which you either have the other position-swapping technicians or not. i don’t think we have enough.

        we tried beating teams half court for a cycle. i think we have some other technicians but not enough to really work with a false 9 and make that go.

    • he makes a good point. they are usually selling teams. their record in-transfers are usually in the teens. they will have a low squeal point on pepi where they will simply look at their academy or buy someone cheap. i am sure they like the player and see the gronigen loan as eredivisie proof of concept. i am also sure as with SPL and some other leagues they are more eager for the player on loan than to pay the actual sticker price. hence the loan. but there is a catch 22 in that a successful loan player without an option has made themselves expensive when the loan nature of the deal suggests the target team started out cheap. it’s hard for these loan players to find the goldilocks zone where they drop down enough to play but not so much the target team can’t afford them after any success.

      i also think when you see some of these signings it’s as much as an asset as a player. i see that as a shift from a prior era where players might be released and not everyone of these decisions was profit maximization. but ironically dollar signs on everyone might be promoted by FFP as much as anything. but anyways, in the old days, augsburg might see if there was a taker, or lower the price, or just release him. we are now in the era where CFC might sign dozens they can’t possibly all use and milk them for most or all of a contract they aren’t actually interested in fulfilling at stamford bridge ever.

      • You don’t sign someone for 20 million as an asset. You’re very unlikely to make that back unless the guys is a star in which case you’d play him. Augsburg thought they we’re getting a guy that could help them. He played his first 3 available matches, starting 2 of them. Augsburg doesn’t drop big money on players, Pepi is their record by 6 million pounds. For a combination of reasons it didn’t work (formation, living abroad, competition, relegation, and more). I don’t think he fits Augsburg’s 4-4-2 formation so I’d be surprised if they keep him unless they’ve got other CFs that are leaving. I don’t mind a loan when it’s this case of Pepi finding a team. In loan army situations like Man City and Chelsea it seems to be here are 5 teams we’ve got connections too, go there. Miazga says Chelsea took good care of him and were in regular contact with him about his play, most summers he’d be back training with them getting some friendly work in so it wasn’t completely bad for him even if he never hit that high level that people hoped for.

      • JR,

        Miazga’s Chelsea loan army adventure is only sad if you thought that he was the heir apparent to John Terry or Gary Cahill.

        Did you ever think he was going to remind anyone of either player?
        He is very much on record as saying that Chelsea took very good care of him during this time. staying in touch and then when the loans were over finding him new clubs.

        He never dd hit the heights we all thought he might but from where I sit that’s mostly on him.

        Certainly Chelsea would have loved it if he became the new John Terry. .
        Loans may be bad for some players but Matt’s experience shows he’s not one of them.

        He has had a very ,very good career and it’s not over. 28-32 year old center backs are not that uncommon in international football so he still has a chance at making the World Cup.

      • JR: i think you’re being a little naive. the game with many of these big league clubs is you sign a few people, reward the ones you like, treat the rest as assets. i think based on FCD and moderate scoring numbers he was a stretch in B.1. they took a shot, fair enough, but this wasn’t signing pulisic so i am sure “we could just loan him if this hail mary doesn’t work” was somewhere more in their heads than you’re admitting.

        re the miazga comment, it comes across far different if one considers c. 2017 he was seen as a potential CB answer, both in general and to fix the personnel issues. 6 years later it’s can he even make a call sheet. he might have made money and “been in europe.” but if he cared about NT he went backwards, and i don’t buy clubwise he went forwards either. post-CFC, post-loan, he’s swapped NYRB for Cincy, same league. by the time he’s re-established his reputation he’s borderline too old to transfer back out.

        i give him some credit he’s come back, rebooted, and might be in for the back end of the GC roster or something under new coaching. but that kind of says something about how it went before. this is he hit reset. 2018 wasn’t his fault arena left him off. he made his case at GC then the coach reverted to old shoe and blew it. but he doesn’t get 2022 back.

      • Augsburg isn’t a big club though, yes they’re in a top league but they’re midtable usually and as I pointed out don’t spend money anywhere close to what they did on Ricardo. You aren’t ever going to make 20 million dollars back on loans. They 100% thought he could help them when he came in January. Chelsea is an exception not rule as to how clubs in Europe operate.

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