Rumors abound that American international Geoff Cameron is being courted both within the Premier League as well as on the continent. ProSoccerTalk links Cameron to a number of clubs, the biggest name being traditional Serie A contender Lazio.
But recent moves to big clubs have hampered many an American abroad. From Clint Dempsey to Jozy Altidore, Maurice Edu to Michael Bradley, a move up the prestige ladder isn’t always a guarantee of good times. It’s something that should make Cameron think twice about taking a step up.
Cameron featured for the Potters as soon as he made the move to England, but thus far in the new campaign he has not played a minute for Mark Hughes. While Cameron gained a transfer to England on his performances as a central defender at the Houston Dynamo, then manager Tony Pulis inserted Cameron at right-back in his four central defender setup.
Last year, Hughes stuck with Cameron at right-back after the departure of Pulis. But in the summer he signed a natural fullback in Phil Bardsley which has pushed Cameron to the bench, at least for the time being.
There are other Premier League sides interested in Cameron. But each of those clubs – primarily Southampton, Sunderland, and Hull City – would be lateral moves at best. Lazio, who at one time were consistent challengers for Champions League spots in Italy, would certainly be a big jump up for the suburban Bostonian.
That is the type of situation that would impress USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The German has long stressed the importance of players challenging themselves at the highest level. Lazio’s history of aspirations towards greatness would likely please Klinsmann.
Another important aspect could be the chance for Cameron to slot in at one of his natural positions. PST reports that would be possible at Lazio, as well as some of the other interested EPL clubs. With Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson, and Robert Huth at Stoke, Cameron’s chances of getting time centrally are scant.
So why not move?
While Cameron rides the bench at Stoke City right now, Bardsley was not very impressive with the Black Cats the last couple of years. He has also had issues with discipline off the pitch. Perhaps with hard work on the training ground, Cameron could regain the spot at right-back again.
It’s also been well documented the difficulties American players have had bedding in at a new club. We saw this in Italy last year, with Michael Bradley leaving Chievo a hero and becoming surplus to requirements at Roma. His best shot for playing time approaching the World Cup came from a transfer back to North America, at Toronto F.C.
Cameron may be best served moving within the Premier League, especially one that will play him centrally. He is well acquainted with the players and style within the EPL, and should quickly mesh into a side such as Southampton or Hull City. It’s true that both of those teams could be in for a fight to avoid relegation, but there are no guarantees for the Potters to remain safe either.
Sunderland are also reported to be interested, and that would be an intriguing proposition. They also employ embattled US striker Jozy Altidore. Perhaps a fellow Statesider on the squad would help settle Altidore, who really needs to regain the form he once had at A.Z. Alkmaar in the Eredivisie.
Whether it’s remaining at Stoke, moving within the Premier League or sliding into a more prestigious side like Lazio, Cameron needs to judge the situation wisely. Bigger money can be tempting, but it doesn’t always result in a happy ending.