Torsten Frings’ contract at Werder Bremen runs out at the end of the season, and there have been doubts as to whether the midfield general will be given an extension to his current deal. Frings has recently made clear in an interview that if his stay at Werder Bremen were not extended, he would not consider a move to another German club. What’s even more interesting, is that Frings also stated that New York is his ‘dream city.’ Seeing Frings go down the road of former European stars like Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and David Beckham makes me cringe a little bit. While Frings may still want to be promised a regular place in the Werder Bremen side and a handsome pay package to go with it, moving to New York to secure that may still be out of his best interest.
For one thing, New York already have three designated players in the forms of Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. Angel’s contract is nearing an end as well, and unless New York ship him off or offer him a regular contract, there won’t be any place in the New York side for Frings anyway. The only other option would be to wait for the New York Cosmos franchise to open up, and then to become their first designated player. Unfortunately, the Cosmos won’t become a franchise until (reportedly) the 2013 season, and by then Frings will already be 36 years old.
Torsten Frings has always been a very competitive, very aggressive player. Surrounding him with players who aren’t up to his calibre, players who he won’t consider up to par, will only create friction in the camp and a lack of passion for the game for Frings. Even if he was given a designated player contract that would undoubtedly be packed with cash and first-team assurances, he’d be in an unfamiliar surrounding with players he wouldn’t gel with.
Also, Frings would be completely out of the spotlight in New York. In Germany, Frings is a massive star who is respected by both players and fans for his approach to the game. In New York, they didn’t even know who Thierry Henry was! I went to see Toronto FC play the New York Red Bulls at BMO Field in Toronto, and fans called Thierry Henry, the legend that he is, ‘that Henry guy.’ All they could remember was his handball against Ireland! He’s a bloody legend, and all they could think of doing was booing him for a handball. It’s not so much that he was an opposition player and opposition fans were booing him for that reason, it was just the total disregard of his legacy that I couldn’t take. I just don’t think that Torsten Frings, of all players, would like to be surrounded by a largely ignorant fanbase, at least based on my experience, and just a lack of recognition of his achievements. People didn’t even know Henry was from France! Frings is like a warrior, you can’t put someone like that back to square one, where he’d have it all to prove again – especially after everything he’s done.
Meanwhile, Werder Bremen have included a managerial clause into Torsten Frings’ potential new deal at the club. If Frings stays on at Werder Bremen, he will be given the option to manage the club after his playing career ends. Even if he has to sit some games and becomes used like a Paul Scholes does at Manchester United, I think that’s a lot better than going to the MLS and playing his days out in relative obscurity. Frings is a Bundesliga legend, and his legacy will only continue to grow if he accepts Werder Bremen’s contract offer and eventually does assume the role of manager at the club. He’s extremely determined, he’s a great leader, and he’s mentally strong enough to roll with the managerial punches and ride out a run of losses or a dip in form.
In all, I think Torsten Frings should leave New York for his summer vacation, and keep his focus at Werder Bremen and his legacy there.
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