Top 5 USA Players Most Likely to Be Signed By Premier League Clubs This Summer

The USA World Cup soccer team won the plaudits of so many people worldwide. Tim Howard has to be considered the most influential player for the US over the four games, keeping the team in games at the most opportune moments, as well as being the vocal leader of the USMNT.

But while Tim Howard already plays in one of the top leagues in the world, the Premier League, which American stars from this World Cup are most likely to be signed by European clubs in order to move up to the next level in soccer?

Here are my 5 picks:

1. Matt Besler 

The Sporting Kansas City player is the most likely player to be the target of raids from Premier League clubs. Besler was the standout defender for the United States team in Brazil. His reading of the game has improved tremendously in the last 3 years. And at 27, he still has a few years of top-level defending left in him. A team like Stoke City (where he would join fellow American Geoff Cameron) would be a perfect fit for the in-form defender.

2. DeAndre Yedlin

While the young Seattle Sounders player has been deployed in both defense and midfield for the US, arguably his best position is right back. Yedlin needs to improve on his positional play, but his enthusiasm and acceleration make him a viable option for an attack-minded manager. His crossing, in particular, was on display for Dempsey’s goal against Portugal. Plus, his crossing in the game against Belgium elicited glowing praise from highly respected journalist and author Paddy Barclay, who proclaimed that Yedlin was one of the best right wingers he’s seen in years, and he compared him to David Beckham.

At 20, Yedlin certainly has his best years ahead of him, and perhaps a manager like Harry Redknapp at QPR may be able to turn his raw potential into real ability.

3. Graham Zusi

“Saint” Zusi, as he is now known amongst Mexican fans, is a creative midfielder, who has an eye for the creative pass that other footballers can’t see. Last season, he scored 6 goals and created 13 assists from the three-man Kansas City midfield. Burnley, one of the Premier League’s promoted teams, could be an ideal destination. Zusi would fit in perfectly alongside David Jones. A less likely option would be Everton – certainly their manager Roberto Martinez has praised Zusi on ESPN. In spite of the loss of Gareth Barry and the constantly injured Darron Gibson, getting regular playing time at Everton may be a step too far for the 27-year old Zusi.

4. Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley played in England before for Aston Villa. And, yes, he has also played in Germany and Italy. But, Bradley remains one of the most underrated midfielders in the world. And, at 26, another shot at the Premier League is not impossible. Bradley was unfairly criticized in the World Cup games.

While casual fans have noticed some wayward passes, his workrate and his closing down of opponents is emblematic of the industry and selflessness of the Princeton-born midfielder. His passing ability is also often understated, and was on display in the qualifiers and games leading up to the World Cup. A team like Southampton – known for their intricate, accurate passing — would be a perfect move for Bradley. Certainly, Southampton has sold some important players recently – including midfielder Adam Lallana – and will be looking for new signings.

5. Landon Donovan

I admit it. I’m cheating here. Landon is not in the World Cup squad. However, he’s still a game changer. Landon has the speed, skill and ability to boost the chances of a European team. Plus he has the experience of playing very successful loan spells at Everton. Thus, he’s proven himself at that level.

It can be argued that Landon’s biggest reason for not making his loan moves permanent was the USMNT. With that option off the table, Landon can attempt to try his luck once more in England. One of the promoted teams, or arguably even a move to rudderless Newcastle, may be mutually beneficial. Certainly, Mike Ashley would sanction the deal as it would be cut-rate and help increase the club’s appeal in the USA.

21 thoughts on “Top 5 USA Players Most Likely to Be Signed By Premier League Clubs This Summer”

  1. Yedlin, maybe. The rest, no way.

    After Donovan’s history (plus his age), who would bother to take a risk on him?

    And the rest overachieved on the US team, but I hardly think any Prem. Team would have seen enough to compel them to go through the frustrating process of obtaining work permits (see J. Agudelo).

  2. I kind of chuckled when I read the Zusi mention, because that Belgium match may have cost him millions of dollars in potential earnings. I don’t see anyone watching that match and wanting to pay a transfer fee for him. Maybe a Brek Shea-type deal. Maybe.

    Bradley – he’s a known quantity in Europe, is already signed for about as much as he’d get paid elsewhere, and like Zusi his performance in Brazil hurt his stock rather than helping it. The only way he leaves TFC is if they brick in the standings and make another panic dump.

    Donovan will go where the money is at this point, but LA made sure the money was right there at home. Like Bradley, the only way he goes anywhere is if the club doesn’t want him or there’s a falling-out.

    Yedlin though – the Sounders may be secretly licking their chops over the potential transfer for him. They may plow the cash into making sure Martins stays happy…and we all know how much a significant amount of allocation money can help.

  3. Bradley was unfairly criticized? Are you kidding me? He played like absolute crap for 4 games minus one nice pass to Julian Green. Michael Bradley sucks, plain and simple. He is the antithesis of a possession/creative midfielder. He was a detriment to the US in the World Cup. At least he was fit enough to chase down all of his mistakes.

    1. I encourage you to listen to the most recent World Soccer Talk pod or the ULF pod to hear why I state Bradley has been unfairly criticized.

      He was the best outfield player on the pitch for the USMNT against Belgium. The statistics show it (Assist, highest pass percentage, highest pass percentage in attacking areas, most ball recoveries).

      The narrative about Michael Bradley has been unfair and driven by this idea that he is simply someone who runs a lot.

      You are entitled to your opinion, of course. But to say that he played like absolute crap is demonstrably wrong.

    2. ” He is the antithesis of a possession/creative midfielder.”

      Per all the “experts” Bradley is not possession/creative midfielder. He is a defensive midfield who will venture forward in selected situations.

      Bradley is not a midfielder like a Hugo Perez, Tab Ramos or a Claudio Reyna.

  4. Yedlin is a good bet . Bradley not skillful enough as a attacking midfielder but fine as a holding mid. Great workrate (Top distance covered of all WC team players) Zusi is just a midlevel club player .Besler is an average defender, Decent club player.

  5. Bradley did over 10 miles in the belgium game to compensate for the poor coaching setup in midfield #1 in the whole WC. Messi did 6.5 miles in his game. Who will be fresher in the end. Bradley actually played very well for someone asked to play WAY out of position. he never complained.Get off his back . Blame the coach for asking him to do superhuman work. You cant cover that much ground and not fall apart somewhat. Too many people dont know what they are watching

  6. “Top 5 USA Players Most Likely to Be Signed By Premier League Clubs This Summer.”

    Why only the EPL? Why not the Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1 or Serie? I see these leagues just as interested especially the bundesliga.

    I ‘m sorry but for me the statement “by the EPL” gives the message like it’s the only league in the world where anyone would want to play for. Kind of elitist isn’t it?

    IMO these players would actually be better off not going to the EPL right away. The Bundesliga might be a better option at this point.

    For me the EPL is “not all that and a Bag of chips”. It’s very good and I enjoy watching it & is one of the top leagues in the world, but it has its limitations for players coming from the US who need to grow and improve.

    As for Donovan, hahaha, he doesn’t want to leave home (and I mean that in a negative way). He had his chance multiple times including two very good stints with Everton.

    He could have stayed but chose to sign a 5 yr extension deal to stay in MLS with Galaxy. Donovan wants it easy, he wants to be the star. Doesn’t want to put any effort into challenging himself.

    1. Great points there, pal. I just tried to focus on the EPL, but I totally agree that some of these players would do well in other leagues (and have less scrutiny, more playing time, etc.).

      It was just a thought experiment using the EPL – b/c I know those clubs best, and could see where each player might fit in.

      But, your point is entirely valid. Cheers!

  7. Yedlin because of his youth and speed get signed by EPL and loaned to Championship side. Lanny are you kidding he wants to be a big fish in a little pond his time has come and gone good ridden. After watching WC now you know why Bradley sat the bench for Roma and AV over hyped.

    1. ” After watching WC now you know why Bradley sat the bench for Roma”

      Not sure that’s why he was benched at Roma, but he was also “benched” quite a bit in his last year at Gladbach in the Bundesliga because his play didn’t improve.

      The panel on ESPN stated that Bradley isn’t an attacking midfielder, that he needs to see the entire “picture” in front of him to be effective and then go forward on specific occasions. That’s when he’s most effective.

      Maybe that’s why his play was less than positive at the WC (and poor ball control and lack of accurate passing).

  8. What about Yedlin to Newcastle? Debuchy is off to Arsenal, and there’s definite a place for DeAndre there…

    1. That’s a great shout. I think he’s more likely to get PT in a promoted side though – and with Luke Young at QPR getting up in age (34), he will get more PT there.

      1. Toronto might be the best fit for him in MLS for him to be on. Not necessary the best MLS team but due to the many Int’l players it has, the best fit.

  9. Sporting KC has already said they received offers from the Bundesliga and Premier League . During the silly season, I’m skeptical of everything.. But coming from the team, it would be pretty unlikely to be untrue since they are trying to resign him and this would drive up that price. Also for the fifth slot, I think Omar would have been a better choice than LD. Omar had quite a bit of interest until Timmy Chandler hurt him, and now maybe rounding back into form would get him an offer.

    1. Not surprised by this. But, I certainly wasn’t aware of it. Thanks for sharing it!

      I think Besler will do well with a move abroad. He has earned it.

  10. Donovan clearly does not like playing in Europe. He’s kind of a nerdy little guy with that nasally voice and probably got a lot of stick in those dressing rooms (no pun intended).

    Euro (especially English) dressing room culture is more rough and tumble than it is in MLS.

    But even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t have many suitors- he’s older, fatter, slower and the world views him as not good enough for the USMNT. He’s staying in LA.

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