Americans Caught Up in Transfer Whirlwind
While the MLS transfer window is still open for another three months, the international transfer window closed Monday. If you are a fan of an international league, you know how crazy this January transfer window was with money and players being tossed about in a dizzying fashion. And while no American got over £70 million like Fernando Torres did, some name American players moved to a new location that could alter their club and international careers.
Rather than do a plain list, I divided the transfer and thoughts into a couple of different categories. Agree or disagree? Don’t by shy in the comments section.
Best transfer for both an American player and the new club
Michael Bradley moving to Aston Villa was a huge move this week and one that should pay immediate benefits for both parties. Bradley will immediately compete for playing time in Gerard Houllier’s club, and while it is not a guarantee he will start over fellow newby Jean Makoun and other current starters, playing with players like Darren Bent against some of the best clubs in the world can only help his development. Aston Villa will also benefit by having another midfield option who can score, plus quietly the club is becoming very American friendly. Bradley will join fellow American internationals Brad Guzan, Brad Friedel, and Eric Lichaj. If the loan deal works, Villa has the option to purchase his contract.
Best transfer for both an American player and the old club
At first, Jozy Altidore’s loan deal to Bursaspor in Turkey seems like a major step back; after all, he is leaving La Liga for a second-rate (at best) European league. But this move is a good one for Altidore and Villareal. For the past few years we have heard about Altidore’s amazing potential but have seen little actual playing time to back it up. Behind Giuseppe Rossi in Spain, a move to Turkey actually will give Altidore playing time in a competitive league. Finally Villareal can see if Altidore is worth holding on to, and Altidore can see if he is ready for top-flight competition as well as gain international experience. While Turkey is not the EPL or La Liga, the level of competition is good and the league is known for being a tough place for away fixtures, something that will make him mentally tough.
Worst move to resurrect a career
It’s been discussed ad naseum, but when will Freddy Adu realize that MLS has playing time for him? The itinerant American, whose rights are still owned by Benfica, signed with Çaykur Rizespor through the end of the season. The Turkish club is not Bursaspor; it is in Turkey’s second division. While I do not follow Turkish soccer on a regular occasion, it is hard to believe the competition is that much higher than MLS. Maybe Benfica didn’t want to send him to the states, but whatever the reason this may condemn the former up-and-comer to ignored status.
Best transfer window signing you don’t know about yet
We all know about the current and former national team Americans who moved this month, but one American may be positioning himself to boost his career immensely. Former D.C. United youth academy product Erik Opsahl signed last week with English second-tier club Reading, the same club that once employed Marcus Hahnemann and Bobby Convey. Opsahl played high school soccer in Maryland and a year of college soccer at St. Johns, but was seeking international opportunities to advance his career. While he will start out playing for the reserves, he already has a work permit so he does not have to hassle with visa issues and could be poised for playing time with the senior squad. Remember this name; he could be the next surprise Bob Bradley call-up.
Biggest transfer news I didn’t care much about
I should probably be more excited about this, but Eddie Johnson went out on loan from Fulham to Preston North End, an English second-tier club looking to avoid relegation and in need of some goals. Johnson wasn’t getting playing time at Fulham (one start in ’10-’11) so now he has the chance for some regular minutes. But this move just didn’t interest me; maybe I have Agudelo-fever or don’t recognize Johnson’s contributions to the national team, but when I saw this move I shrugged my shoulders and moved on.
Earlier transfers discussed but needing one final thought
Carlos Bocanegra seems to really be establishing himself in France, and the move to Saint-Etienne seems lateral, but I would love to see him more often on TV so I could appreciate his talent. So his transfer while not professionally disappointing is personally disappointing. Gooch’s move to FC Twente has been discussed in depth, but I hope this move works out for him or serious questions are going to be raised about his international future.