Wil Trapp isn’t leaving Columbus Crew SC. At least not right now.
On Tuesday, The Athletic’s Paul Tenario reported a $1.25 million offer was made to Crew SC for the club’s captain from English Championship side Blackburn Rovers. Columbus turned down the offer from Blackburn sources close to the situation told Massive Report.
“We get offers for players all the time,” head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter said. “We set a certain valuation for our players, we know what the cost is to replace quality like Wil’s, so we have to stand firm.”
Handling transfer offers for young players is old hat for Berhalter and the Black & Gold staff. Earlier this summer, Columbus received a reported $3.9 million offer from Bristol City for goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The club turned down that offer as well.
While Berhalter wants to help players achieve their dreams that sometimes include moving beyond Major League Soccer, he also understands the team can’t accept any deal that comes their way; it has to make sense for all parties involved. At this point, in the middle of the season and with the transfer window closing, accepting Blackburn’s offer for Trapp didn’t make sense.
“This is just my assessment, there probably will be a time but I’m not sure the time’s now,” Berhalter said. “I’m sure there’s going to be, within the next year and a half maybe where it’s going to be either he is going to in a situation in Europe that he likes and that’s right for him.”
Trapp, a Columbus native who signed with the club as a Homegrown product in December of 2012, has become one of Berhalter’s most important pieces. He has played at central midfielder in 146 of 194 possible Crew SC regular season games since becoming a professional and could be in future U.S. National Team plans given he has wore the captain’s armband in all or the recent friendlies.
For Trapp, transfer talk is a new experience. His success with the Black & Gold and the U.S. has started to attract interest from clubs. While Berhalter would not confirm more offers for Trapp have come in, it’s certainly something the midfielder will likely hear about over the next few years.
“I would say it’s just an interesting mix of emotions and just weighing pros and cons and seeing how you can deal with that type of situation,” the 25-year-old said. “So it was certainly something I’ve never dealt with, my wife and I have never deal with, but it was good to go through it and see how we react in that situation.”
The good news for Trapp is he has plenty of knowledgable support around him. Berhalter, assistant coach Josh Wolff and a number of teammates have made decisions to move abroad during their players careers. He also is close with Steffen, who recently went through a very similar situation.
“I think it’s good to get a well-rounded opinion from guys that have been abroad or been through the same situation,” Trapp said. “You think about Zack’s situation just a few weeks ago, is another guy who I know very intimately in how he went throughout it and how he was processing things. So it was good to be on both sides of that.”
Like many young soccer players, Trapp has dreamed of playing in Europe but he’s not getting ahead of himself. At this point, he’s just entering the prime of his athletic career and understands that the situation has to be right or else a move overseas could be rather negative.
Conversely, Trapp also understands that his career will only continue for so long and, if he wants to try to play in Europe, he will have to make the move sooner rather than later.
“You have to look at the investment side from a club abroad,” Trapp said. “How much money are they willing to spend on someone that’s a little bit older verses someone who’s younger? There is a window there of opportunity and you just have to find the right one that comes along.”
With any transfer or trade, the situation has to be right for both teams and, ideally, the player. While this was not the one that will see Trapp make the move across the pond, he is pleased that offers are coming and will see where life takes him in the future.
“Of course it’s flattering. Whenever a team is actively seeking you out, it’s a great thing,” Trapp said.
“I think you always have to be pushing your level and trying to get better. And whether that’s here or abroad, the competition, you have to raise your game. And if you’re not doing that then why play? So that’s what I’ve adopted and that’s how I’ve tried to focus on things and if it takes me overseas then it does.”