Jhon Durán: Aston Villa secure Colombian “project” in a record deal from Chicago Fire

FPL360
By FPL360
Jhon Durán: Aston Villa secure Colombian “project” in a record deal from Chicago Fire

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More expensive than James 

It is a transfer out of nowhere. On Monday, Aston Villa announced that they had reached an agreement with Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire to sign Colombian forward Jhon Durán in a deal worth up to $22 million (€20.34m). Chicago will receive €16.36m up front with close to another €4m paid in add-ons. The transfer is still pending on Aston Villa reaching an agreement with the player and Durán passing his medical, and both are understood to be a formality. 

Once completed, the fee without add-ons will make the Colombian the second most expensive outgoing transfer in MLS history, just behind Miguel Almirón. The Paraguayan joined Newcastle United in a deal worth €24m in the 2018/19 season. Durán’s deal with add-ons could reach the same volume as the Alphonso Davies deal. The Canadian star joined Bayern Munich for an initial €13m in 2018/19 in a deal that could reach around €18m once he has hit all bonuses—one of those bonus payments was triggered when Bayern won the Champions League in 2020. 

Durán 2nd ahead of Davies & Co. – MLS top 10 record sales

Zack Steffen | From Columbus to Man City in 2019/20 | Fee: €6.8m

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Jozy Altidore | From RBNY to Villarreal in 2008/09 | Fee: €7.3m

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Ismaël Koné | From Montréal to Watford in 2022/23 | Fee: €8m

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Daryl Dike | From Orlando to West Brom in 2021/22 | Fee: €8.6m

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Gabriel Slonina | From Chicago to Chelsea in 2022/23 | Fee: €9m

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Brenden Aaronson | From Philadelphia Union to Salzburg in 2020/21 | Fee: €12.7m

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Alphonso Davies | From Vancouver to Bayern in 2018/19 | Fee: €14m

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Deal can grow to €20m. Davies hit a €1m bonus after Bayern won the UCL in 2020.

Ricardo Pepi | From FC Dallas to Augsburg in 2021/22 | Fee: €16.4m

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Jhon Durán | From Chicago Fire to Aston Villa in 2022/23 | Fee: €16.6m

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Plus almost €4m in add-ons

Miguel Almiron | From Atlanta to Newcastle in 2018/19 | Fee: €24m

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But Durán, once he has signed for Aston Villa, will not only write MLS history. Durán will also become the most expensive Colombian teenager in history ahead of a certain James Rodríguez, who joined Porto for €7.35m from Argentine side Banfield in the 2010/11 season. Durán has more than doubled that deal (overview).

Jhon Durán: Chicago Fire earn almost 10-times fee paid 12 months ago

Furthermore, the deal is almost ten times the price that the Chicago Fire paid to Envigado 12 months ago. The MLS club signed the Colombian power forward for just €1.7m. In retrospect a steal. But despite being still a raw talent, Durán’s enourmous potential was visible throughout the season. The striker scored eight goals and five assists in 27 MLS games for a club that often struggled throughout the 2022 season. 

“Durán is among the top talents born in 2003,” Transfermarkt’s Data Administrator North America Dominic Becker said. “In 2020, he was part of the Guardian’s Next Generation list, which further underlined his standings. He is very mature despite being just 19 and is very efficient in front of the goal. Towards the end of his time in Chicago, he was directly involved in a goal in every second game. The Premier League might be a good match for his physical attributes.” 

Mudryk to Biuk: The most expensive transfers of the 22/23 January transfer window so far

24 Stipe Biuk | Hajduk to LAFC | Fee: €6.5m

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23 Yira Sor | Slavia to Genk | Fee: €6.5m

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22 Mislav Orsic | Dinamo Zagreb to Southampton | Fee: €6.8m

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21 Ayrton Lucas | Spartak Moscow to Flamengo | Fee: €7m

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20 Casper Tengstedt | Rosenborg to Benfica | Fee: €7m

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19 César Montes | Monterrey to Espanyol | Fee: €8m

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18 Gerónimo Rulli | Villarreal to Ajax | Fee: €8m

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17 Ismaël Koné | CF Montreal to Watford | Fee: €8m

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16 Evander | Midtjylland to Portland Timbers | Fee: €9.5m

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15 João Félix | Atlético Madrid to Chelsea | Loan fee: €11m

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14 David Datro Fofana | Molde to Chelsea | Fee: €12m

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13 Maximilian Wöber | RB Salzburg to Leeds United | Fee: €12m

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12 Fernando Gorriarán | Santos Laguna to Tigres | Fee: €12m

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11 Mario Lemina | Nice to Wolverhampton | Fee: €11m

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10 Andrey Santos | Vasco da Gama to Chelsea | Fee: €12.5m

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9 Álex Moreno | Real Bets to Aston Villa | Fee: €13.5m

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8 Carlos Alcarez | Racing to Southampton | Fee: €13.95m

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7 Andreas Schjelderup | Nordsjælland to Benfica | Fee: €14m

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6 Gerson | Marseille to Flamengo | Fee: €15m

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5 Jhon Durán | Chicago to Aston Villa | Fee: €16.64m

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4 Georginio Rutter | Hoffenheim to Leeds United | Fee: €28m

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€37m with easy to reach add ons

3 Benoît Badiashile | Monaco to Chelsea | Fee: €38m

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2 Cody Gakpo | PSV to Liverpool | Fee: €42m

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1 Mykhaylo Mudryk | Shakhtar to Chelsea | Fee: €70m plus €30m in add-ons

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There is no doubt that Durán is a very direct player. But he is also a project who, despite his improved numbers towards the end of the 2022 season, still heavily relies on his left foot, which he used to score five of his eight goals. There are also still some tactical concerns when it comes to the player, and his underlying Goalimpact numbers (more on that here) further show that Durán is still a project. 

With a current Goalimpact of just 89.3, Durán still ranks significantly below the top-four league average. What is interesting in the chart, however, is his peak Goalimpact, which is currently projected at 131.7 and would rank him as a top player in any of Europe’s top leagues. That number, in particular, is what will have made the Colombian, whose numbers are backed by a small sample size, attractive to Villa.

 Jhon Durán's Goalimpact number reveals that the 19-year-old is still a project

Durán to Aston Villa: A project for Unai Emery

Further data shows that the 19-year-old is still a project with a potentially huge upside. Durán still needs to become more clinical as only 39.44% of his shots last season hit the target—in comparison, Villa’s current two center-forwards, Ollie Watkins (55.56%) and Danny Ings (53.33%) were more effective in that regard this season. 

Including Durán: All the latest transfers at a glance

In fact, the comparison on Wyscout between Durán and Villa’s other two center-forwards is interesting. Although it is tricky to compare MLS numbers with Premier League numbers, there are some indications why Villa boss Unai Emery has gone after the Colombian. Durán leads Watkins (3.66) and Ings (3.64) with 3.71 touches in the box per 90 minutes. Also, while less accurate, Durán has fired more shots on goal this season (3.6 per 90) than Ings (2.37) and Watkins (1.83).

Most importantly, Durán is doing all that as a 19-year-old. It was for that reason that Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt were interested in the striker. Both clubs were hopeful of swooping in and getting a deal done below the usual Premier League prices. Hope that has been crushed by Villa’s American ownership seems to have gone straight to the source to secure one of Colombia’s brightest talents.


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