Since manager Xavi Hernandez publicly declared that defender Sergino Dest of the USMNT no longer belonged in the team, Dest knew his days at Barcelona were numbered and felt compelled to leave before the summer transfer window ended. The 21-year-old right back has found a home after being linked to Manchester United and Villarreal. He is in Italy to playing on loan for AC Milan, with a €20 million option for a permanent transfer.
Dest was a crucial member of the U.S. team in the months leading up to the World Cup, so the timing of this move might have significant effects on not only Barcelona and AC Milan but also the USMNT and Dest’s personal future.
His departure was caused by a number of variables, and he is partially a victim of circumstance. However, it is also true that Xavi emphasized tactical considerations when the two spoke earlier this month, even though the club’s financial condition proved to be the deciding factor. After nearly a year in command, Xavi was still not persuaded that Dest matched his playing style. By leaving him off the roster for Barça’s first three league games of the season, he made that point obvious. Dest insisted on staying at Camp Nou despite efforts by middlemen and the team to find him a transfer.
Dest’s talent level is such that, should he stays healthy, he will be included on the final U.S. roster regardless of his playing circumstances. However, if minutes are still hard to come by in Italy, his place in the starting lineup might be in jeopardy. Even though they don’t offer as much as Dest does, particularly in attack, the other right-back choices in DeAndre Yedlin, Reggie Cannon, Shaq Moore, or Bryan Reynolds would make him more susceptible to being benched.
Undoubtedly, Dest isn’t as necessary on the field as he once was. Manager Gregg Berhalter now has a more stable backline in terms of alternatives thanks to Fulham’s Antonee Robinson, which enables him to concentrate on what Dest offers him at right-back. It is hoped that Dest will enter the World Cup with the necessary level of sharpness and that the move to Milan allays any worries.
Rox and Ken discuss how we got here with Sergino Dest and what this move to Milan means for his career.