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Americans Caught Up in Transfer Whirlwind

Can Jozy's move help his USMNT career?

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.

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  1. BK

    March 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    The Turkish league is one of the most competative leagues in Europe. If you look at the standings you will realize that most teams are very close. It is a very physical and fast paced league. Overall it is ranked somewhere between 10th-15th best soccer leagues in the world. In terms of TV broadcasting dollar, after EPL ,La Liga, Seria A,Bundesliga and French Ligue 1 is the 6th highest paid league in Europe. You are talking about $400 million USD boradcasting rights being shared among 18 teams. I am not even talking about fan merchandise, credit cards, EA FIFA game sales. It is all industry in Turkey. Also, for the ones who follow Euro Soccer, national team ranking and league quality does not go hand in hand and does not totally reflect league quality. For example, players from Holand,Belgium,Portugal,Scandanvia,Eastern Europe and even Germany look at the Turkish League and Russia as a stepping stone for the other top 5 soccer leagues. Altidore to come to Turkey and play in a Top Turkish Team gives him better opportunity than playing in a second ties Spanish team at La liga. The only thing I can not comment on is Freddi Adu’s choice for playing in a second division team Turkey. The team he is playing will most likely make the first division this year. The competition level ( not quality) is unbelivable. Think this way, you will get a share from the $400 Million USD.

  2. ExtraMedium

    February 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Bayern retain Usami interest
    February 3, 2011
    By ESPNsoccernet staff

    Bayern Munich executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed the club retain an interest in Gamba Osaka starlet Takashi Usami.

    Usami, 18, was named the J. League’s Rookie of the Year in December and Bayern boss Louis van Gaal told Sport Bild last month: “He’s definitely an option for the No. 10 position at Bayern. He’s considered to be a huge talent, though, and we are not the only team that want to sign him.”

    J. League caps non-Japanese at 3 if none are AFC eligible. 4 if at least 1 is from an AFC country.This FORCES teams to sign/develop domestic guys. Hint hint MLS.

    The J. League also has a salary-cap, but it’s tied to the player, not whole roster. Basically, when you sign a player his wages are super low (Holden low) for the first season, then if the team doesn’t cut the player the contract continues at an uncapped level. So basically there’s a screening process, which helps minimize bad NBA/NASL 1.0 style contracts, while allowing AFC Champions League super clubs to form. Think about all the crap DPs that team could’ve cut!

  3. soccerreform

    February 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Centrally planned soccer leagues, like centrally planned economies, just can’t keep up with the free market, open ones.

  4. soccerreform

    February 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Your daily MLS reality check:

    Keep in mind, Jozy and Freddy make more than the MLS salary cap in purgatory.

  5. NJ

    February 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Bradley, I hope your right and he gets playing time at Aston Villa, otherwise I’d rather see him getting regular time battling relegation in Germany.

    Altidore, scares me, he keeps following Adu, next is a trip to Greece with Aris, then mediocrity. He needs to play and hopefully he plays more in Turkey then he did at Hull.

    Adu, does anyone care anymore? Its really sad that he has let what seemed to be a love of the game, and outstanding talent wither away to 2nd tier Turkish football.

    Opshal, no clue

    Johnson, another who cares, he should have stayed in MLS and actually got game time.

    Boca, Happy to see him making a name for himself in Ligue Un

  6. Dave C

    February 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Related news (kind of) – Findley won’t be playing for Nottingham Forest for about 12 weeks due to a thigh injury suffered in training, according to the BBC.

  7. Joe

    February 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

    The UEFA coefficient ranks Turkey as the tenth best league in Europe. I bet the Turkish second division is not that far behind MLS in quality.

    • Robert Hay

      February 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

      Joe –

      Does the coefficient measure all divisions within a country? I must admit my ignorance on this issue. If you listen to the MLS Talk podcast, Richard and Chris also express concern about the quality of the Turkish second division.

      • Joe

        February 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

        Good question, and I’d have to say I have no idea. I generally assume that since a second division feeds into the first, the amount of quality drop is pretty consistent, but maybe in Turkey the three promoted teams are often dropped right back down. I don’t know enough about the Turkish Super Lig to answer.

        But I do think that we’ve been down this road with Adu for years now, and don’t really see how him going to a league/team that is beneath what we expected from him is a new development. I also bet he’s making a lot more money as a nomad than he would in the MLS’ crazy pay structure.

        • Charles

          February 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm

          In my mind, it is all about the money for most of the guys playing in Europe.
          I know many different opinions on that, but equal pay, I say in most cases guys stay in the US.

          Shame the support just is not there. Not sure why you blame MLS, for a “crazy pay struture”…most teams have no TV audience and very little attendance.

          Blame Robert and friends, who don’t support soccer in this country.

          • ExtraMedium

            February 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm

            “Shame the support just is not there. Not sure why you blame MLS, for a “crazy pay struture”…most teams have no TV audience and very little attendance. Blame Robert and friends, who don’t support soccer in this country.”

            Ok, that’s the Charles I know.

            MLS should exempt US/Canadian players from the salary-cap because in NA we over pay foreigners, but under pay our own guys (Holden, Bornstein, Buddle, etc.). So we lose good players to 2nd divisions. We need to become more like Japan, Korea, Mexico and Holland. When they lose a MNT member from their domestic league it’s 99.99999% of the time to a bigger league:


          • Charles

            February 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm

            We should have sang Koom-By-Yaaaa while we had the chance.

            BTW, I actually agree 100% with what you said. I will take credit as the original sign the nat team guys on this site. Ok one of the originals.

            That is mostly not a structure thing however that is just bad team management. Structure like pay caps, etc which is good in my a mind because it keeps the league from becoming the joke the NASL was…and folding from the bottom-up like NASL did.

            We both would agree letting Holden go was crazy dumb. Houston could have paid him more.
            DP that boy !

          • Robert

            February 3, 2011 at 12:26 am

            Keep supporting Montero while Buddle is freezing his as.s off in Bundesliga 2.

  8. Dave C

    February 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Freddy Adu’s move to a Turkish Div 2 team is a strange one. Why Turkey? From Benfica’s point of view, wouldn’t it be better to loan him to a Portuguese Div 2 team? That way, it’s a lot easier to track his progress (since Benfica could easily send someone to watch his games), you would think the style of play is more similar, AND it would allow Adu to really settle into living in Portugal (given that he’s hardly ever been there on a long term basis).

  9. Charles

    February 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

    The guys that find secure spots, great, they are doing well.
    MLS, Europe, if they have secure spots perfect.

    The other guys too much turmoil to develop.

    Bradley move is looked at as great.
    We can see him on TV now, in a league we follow, that speaks English.
    He was in a great spot before, now the turmoil has started. coach, relegation, move..
    The move to Aston Villa verdict is still out, IMHO……

  10. ElHierro

    February 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Jozy to Turkey is a major step backwards. Everything else you wrote about Jozy is absolute garbage. It’s nothing but a major step backwards.

    Why is anyone still talking about Freddy Adu?

    Opsahl is nothing but very, very far away from even being a “could be”.

    Why is anyone still talking about Eddie Johnson?

    If this is all there is to say about Americans moving in a transfer window, it bodes poorly for the US team.

    • Charles

      February 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Why is he talking about those guys ?!?!

      ummm the article was about Americans transferring, who did you want him to write about that he didn’t mention ?

    • Dave C

      February 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I disagree about Altidore’s move being a move backwards. If Villareal are prepared to loan him out, then they obviously don’t see him as a serious part of their plans for this season at least (even from the bench). So he’s MUCH better going somewhere and getting games, than staying at Villareal and watching from the stands (apart from the occasional Copa Del Rey game against 2nd div opponents).

      Although what I will say about Altidore (and all people who are moving on loan), is that I think it would be better if they try and get some continuity in their moves – eg try and return to teams where they know they fit in, or work under managers that value them, so they can keep on playing and learning. Not like Adu, who must have played for half a dozen different teams in the last few years, never getting a foothold anywhere.

      In Altidore’s case, either he should have gone to Preston North End (maybe instead of Eddie Johnson) where he could have worked with Phil Brown again, who obviously valued him enough to sign him last season at Hull. Or maybe he could have gone back to Hull, where at least he settled in OK last year, and was fairly popular with the fans.*

      *I have to admit to being probably the only person in the world to own a Hull City Altidore #9 shirt, so I’m kind of biased when I say I think I’d like him back at Hull. Although to be honest, he wouldn’t be guaranteed games there either.

    • Tim

      February 3, 2011 at 6:37 am

      Altidore went to the defending champions of Turkey, that sure is a step down from money burning Villareal. /sarcasm

  11. soccerreform

    February 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

    It was a record setting transfer window in terms of spending, and Americans were on the move – hopefully to greener pastures.

    Yet MLS failed to sell a single player.

    Argentina sold 1600 players in ’10. MLS, and the US as a whole – might have sold Sasha. Even that report is unconfirmed.

    Definitely not a feeder league.

    • Charles

      February 2, 2011 at 10:01 am

      I say good. Montero could have moved, Seattle kept him.
      Landon could have moved, LA kept him.

      Clark and Holden did move, Houston lost.

      • Robert

        February 2, 2011 at 10:33 am


        Any AFA club will wipe the floor with the Sounders.

        • Charles

          February 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

          I dont even know what AFA is. Probably Argentina league.
          Why would I care ?

          You should support US soccer like I and many who post on this site and maybe that changes, if it doesn’t enjoy the games.

          My point is part of the enjoying the games is Montero still being there to help my Sounders win MLS Cup. IF he moves on, ie Holden…Seattle pulls a Houston goes from on the edge of winning MLS Cup to not making the playoffs.

          Pretty simple really. for that reason, I don’t want MLS to be a feeder league.

          • Dave C

            February 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

            I dont even know what AFA is. Probably Argentina league.
            Why would I care ?

            Charles, although I often disagree with a lot of your opinions on this website, I am in 100% agreement with you on this particular issue. As far as I’m concerned, the most important issue for an MLS fan should be whether or not they enjoy what they’re watching, NOT how it compares to EPL, AFA, Serie A or whatever.

            I always wonder why people fret so much about these comparisons. Personally I have watched and enjoyed games in all four divisions of English football. At no point did I worry about whether the skill level on display matched up to the Serie A, or Serie B, C or D for that matter.

          • ExtraMedium

            February 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

            Holy crap! I agree with Charles! MLS becoming a feeder league would be bad for the pro game in America, and the USMNT. It took me 14 years, but I finally convinced my brother: “Oh, Freddy should go overseas. And so Should Jozy. Even if they don’t play the training is soooooooo tuff they’re bound to get better thanif they play eveyday in MLS.”

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