Another member of the USMNT is making a big move in Europe. Josh Sargent is moving from Werder Bremen, who were relegated from the Bundesliga after last season, to newly promoted Premier League team Norwich City. The fee is reported to be around $11 million.
Sargent is yet another hope for someone to grab the center forward role for the U.S. and never let it go. He’s had his chances already, starting both Nations League games in June, and is the type of player who has shown an ability to do everything but score, which sounds kind of ridiculous for a striker but it has value. He makes all the right runs, opening up space for others. His endurance levels are legendary, meaning he can press defenses for all 90 minutes. He’s been a regular for a top five European league team for two years and he just turned 21.
Norwich however, will need goals. Last year’s second-leading scorer, Emi Buendia, left for Aston Villa, leaving them with only Teemu Pukki as a scoring threat, a position the team was in two years ago that got it violently relegated back to the Championship. Sargent will have to do a lot better than averaging a shot-and-a-half per 90 minutes as he did last year, which can be rough to do for a team like Norwich, who will spend a great deal of their matches without the ball and hoping to hit on the counter. They were one of the best attacking teams in the Championship last season, but that’s always hard to translate to the step up in competition after promotion. Sargent will fit in with a team that has to chase and defend and press and counter to get its chances. But he’s going to have to be ruthless with the few chances he gets.
The U.S. is screaming for a No. 9 as World Cup qualifying starts. Just about every striker this summer failed to seize their chance, including Sargent. We might even be back to Gyasi Zardes again. Sargent is now on the biggest stage possible. Hopefully he can be the one to answer the question the U.S. has asked for decades. Who will score the goals?