For the second time in just a few months, the Chicago Fire have sold a teenage wonderkid to the Premier League for an eight-figure sum.
Not too long ago, that statement would have seemed like a very optimistic prediction, but with the official confirmation of Colombian forward Jhon Durán’s sale to Aston Villa for close to 20 million dollars, it is now a reality. Durán’s sale breaks Gaga Slonina’s record as the most expensive Fire sale in history, and it is also one of the most expensive outgoing transfers in the history of Major League Soccer.
Durán arrived in Chicago ahead of the 2022 season with high expectations; he had been previously called into Colombian youth national teams whilst at Envigado and was ranked amongst the top 2003 prospects in the world. It was clear that he was a very raw talent that had lots of work to do to fulfill his potential. Durán’s early months in MLS were difficult; the coaching staff persisted with a struggling Kacper Przybyłko, and when Durán did see the feel, his minutes were defined by silly fouls and cards.
However, in the summer, something clicked for Durán after he was given the start up top against Toronto FC. He scored a brace on that night and never looked back, racking up a further five goals down the stretch. Over the course of the season, he matured significantly, and his level climbed greatly. By the end of the year, he was a thrice-capped senior Colombian international with European scouts paying extremely close attention to his every move.
It’s no surprise that Premier League clubs were interested following his breakout in 2022, and Aston Villa’s big-money swoop was a bid that the Fire simply couldn’t turn down. It also made sense for the player, as there is a clear pathway to a starting center-forward spot at Villa Park. Emiliano Buendia is currently deputizing up top alongside Olly Watkins in their 4-4-2, but the Villains have been in the market for a natural #9. Along with being coached by a serial winner like Unai Emery, Durán will have the opportunity to play alongside such household names as Emiliano Martínez, Philippe Coutinho, and Leon Bailey.
While it is unfortunate that we only got to see Durán in Chicago for one season, the Premier League is an exciting next step for such an exciting young player. We wish Jhon all the best with his new European adventure!