Since signing a professional contract in 2017 at the tender age of 16, James Sands has been New York City FC’s golden boy. For years, the defensive midfielder-center back hybrid has been among the highest valued young players in MLS. And since cracking into NYCFC’s first team in 2019, Sands has done nothing but reinforce all of the hype, becoming a monster both in the defensive midfield, the center pivot in a 3-back formation, and even as a right back.
Despite whispers of Sands departing the Bronx and making a move to Europe being ubiquitous for as long as one can remember, NYCFC has managed to hold onto the Rye, NY native without much issue. But following a breakout 2021 in which he made caps with the USMNT in both the Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers, as well as playing a big role in leading NYCFC to their first MLS Cup championship, Sands has created tons of buzz and made the prospect of him wearing Bronx Blue in 2022 less likely.
In a recent report from Ekrem Konur — a popular source for international transfer news — popular Scottish club Rangers FC has expressed interest in bringing Sands aboard this winter.
According to the report, Rangers intend on bringing Sands in on loan with an option to buy. Given the way the European and American football seasons are offset, it’s likely that Rangers would bring Sands in on loan in January before making a decision as to whether or not they will bring him in permanently over the summer.
The possibility of losing Sands in the near future should definitely cause some NYCFC supporters a bout of sadness. But when put into perspective, the Pigeons are about as deep in the central midfield as one could hope to be. And considering the Homegrown is currently 21, the time could very well be now to pull the trigger on a move that can yield big profits.