The Union are on the verge of landing a new marquee striker who will be not just be Kacper Przybylko’s replacement, but the kind of high-caliber international forward that the team’s fans have yearned for years to see.
Danish striker Mikael Uhre is that player, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed. He is the top scorer in Denmark’s league this season and won the golden boot last season for Brøndby, one of the country’s biggest teams.
Brøndby announced Saturday morning that it has “accepted an offer from a foreign club” for Uhre, but did not say which club.
“Mikael Uhre has also negotiated his personal terms in place,” the team’s statement said. “Brøndby IF has no further comments on the transfer before it is completed, which is expected to happen in the coming week.”
A few minutes later, Danish newspaper B.T. said Uhre will join the Union if he passes his medical exams. A source told The Inquirer that the deal isn’t completely done yet, but is on track.
While the transfer fee isn’t known yet, Uhre is likely to be a Designated Player, the Union’s third along with new striker Julián Carranza and star midfielder Jamiro Monteiro. Carranza is officially classified as a Young Designated Player, which allows him to carry a smaller cap hit.
In terms of pedigree, Uhre would undoubtedly be the top striker signing in Union history. Unfortunately, that is a lower bar to clear than it should be, as Union fans know all too well. The team has rarely spent big money on the position.
Before this offseason, the Union’s biggest-name strikers all had MLS pedigrees: Carlos Ruiz (who had gone to Greece before returning to the U.S.), Conor Casey, and C.J. Sapong. The biggest signing from abroad, Andrew Wooten, was a free transfer gamble that ended up failing.
Now the Union are finally playing at a different level. They’ve just had the two best seasons in their history, winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2020 and reaching the Eastern Conference final in the playoffs last year. And they’ve got a lot of cash in the bank: nearly $9 million from selling Brenden Aaronson to Red Bull Salzburg, $6 million from selling Mark McKenzie to Genk, and a new shot of $1.15 million from trading Kacper Przybylko to Chicago on Saturday.
Uhre is 27 years old and stands 6-foot-2, which definitely puts him in the big half of the Union’s preferred big-and-little forward setup. He has 14 goals and two assists in all competitions this season, including 11 in 16 league games.
Last season, he had 21 goals and six assists in 34 games and Brøndby won the Danish league title, snapping a 16-year championship drought.
That got the team to the last round of qualifying playoffs for this season’s UEFA Champions League, where coincidentally the opponent was Aaronson’s Red Bull Salzburg. Brøndby lost each game of the two-game series 2-1, with Aaronson scoring the decisive goal in both.
From there, Brøndby went into the Europa League group stage, where it was drawn in a tough group with France’s Lyon, Scotland’s Rangers, and the Czech Republic’s Sparta Prague. Brøndby finished last, tying Sparta and Rangers at home and losing all the other games. Uhre scored in the home game against Lyon, a 3-1 loss.
A survey of reports across Europe shows that the Union beat teams including England’s Norwich City, France’s Saint-Étienne, and Italy’s Venezia — all in their countries’ top leagues — to Uhre’s signature.
A scout who follows Danish soccer said Brøndby has a positive view of selling players to MLS teams. That’s helped by the success of midfielder Hany Mukhtar at Nashville FC, which bought him from Brøndby for $3 million before its MLS debut in 2020. Nashville has made the playoffs in both seasons of its existence, and Mukhtar was last year’s MVP runner-up after delivering 19 goals and 10 assists.
Uhre also has one cap for Denmark’s national team, earned in a World Cup qualifier last November. It was Denmark’s qualifying finale, having already clinched first place in the group and a ticket to Qatar, and the Danes lost the game at Scotland, 2-0.
He probably won’t be on the World Cup team, though, unless he has a really big year here. Denmark’s striker depth chart is topped by Martin Braithwaite of Spain’s Barcelona, Kasper Dolberg of France’s Nice, and Yussuf Poulsen of Germany’s RB Leipzig.