New York Red Bulls
The Michael Ballack-to-MLS drumbeat is getting a little bit louder now, it seems.
Goal.com is reporting today that the former Germany captain is in discussion with the league to bring him to MLS this season, citing unnamed sources from both sides of the negotiation. The article lists five teams that would be interested in Ballack's services: Chicago, Montreal, New York, Philly and Seattle.
Based on comments from the player himself, though, it seems that his most likely destination is the Red Bulls.
Fans in New York shouldn't be leaping for joy just yet, though. For one, even players that have shown a legitimate interest in the league have been known to spurn MLS (see: Anelka, Nicolas). Secondly, even if Ballack does sign, his contract with Bayer Leverkusen doesn't end until June 30, and his agent, Michael Becker, said that he won't be leaving before the Bundesliga season is done.
Welcome to the Depth Chart, a shallow look at the hot topics currently dominating the American soccer conversation. A story's RANK indicates its size, while its BUZZ (thumbs up, or down, or both) reflects its sentiment. Scroll beneath the image for links to the articles referenced within.
This week, familiar themes populate the Depth Chart: trades, the USMNT and yet another big LA acquistion.
Borrón y cuenta nueva.
Rafael Márquez lo dijo hace unas semanas: quiere dejar atrás un chocante 2011 para enfocarse en una buena temporada con los Red Bulls este año, y empezó con el pie derecho.
El Káiser salió como capitán en el primer juego de pretemporada de su equipo ante FC Dallas en Guadalajara, México. Los Red Bulls terminaron ganando el juego por 2-0 con goles por parte de la nueva adquisición Kenny Cooper y Corey Hertzog.
Mira más fotos AQUÍ
No existe mejor manera que comenzar el año que con un triunfo y para Márquez, en este caso, ese triunfo fue en casa. ¿Será esta la temporada donde Márquez se convertirá en el líder que todos esperamos que sea en la MLS?
Skrifaði undir samning til tveggja ára í morgun, mjög ánægður með það. Nú bíð ég eftir atvinnuleyfi.
— G. Victor Palsson (@VictorPalsson) February 5, 2012
To most of us the Tweet above means about as much as the Latin script on the back of a coin. But send it through Google translate with the knowledge that it's coming from former Hibs midfielder Victor Palsson, who is in Cancun with the Red Bulls, and it becomes a lot more menaingful to non-Icelanders.
"Signed a contract for two years this morning, very pleased with it. Now I am waiting for permits."
There's no word from New York yet but if you read between the tweets --the digital age equivalent of tea leaves-- it certainly seems like more there could be a new addition to Hans Backe's Nordic All Star team.
Forget the official word from the club. Luke Rodgers told fans this morning from his personal Facebook page that he's sorted out his issues in England and will join the club this week.
Further invesitgation indicates that Rodgers, who scored nine goals and added three assists in his first MLS season last year, isn't Facebook friends with Red Bulls newcomer Kenny Cooper. Not yet, anyway.
Buried deep in the latest Hot Stove piece from Jack Bell of the New York Times is word of yet another alleged midfield target for the Red Bulls. This time it's not a Scandinavian or Nordic name but one a little more mainstream but equally European: former Manchester City and Republic of Ireland attacker Stephen Ireland.
Could he be Hans Backe's third DP or is he just another name on the always-expanding list of rumored Red Bulls?
According to Steven Goff of the Washington Post, there are rumblings that the Red Bulls will be meeting with the reps for Michael Ballack in Germany this week.
Just due diligence on RBNY's part, or the prelude to a move for the 35-year-old German midfielder who's on the outs at current club Bayer Leverkusen? And if they bring Ballack in, is he the "final piece" for the New York attack, or an injury-prone albatross whose best days are far, far behind him?
The New York Red Bulls keep on playing their immigrant song, this time targeting Swedish attacking midfielder Tobias Grahn (no relation to Tobias Fünke) according to the Swedish press.
Grahn became surplus goods to his current side, Mjällby of the Swedish top flight, when they acquired midfielder Dominique Kivuvu earlier this month.. Grahn, 31, has had stops all over Scandinavia, which makes him perfect for the Red Bulls' Viking braintrust. He also had a brief detour to the Spanish Segunda, and a 13-game loan to Hertha BSC in Germany.
Along the way he picked up a handful of caps with his national team, scoring one goal in four appearances.
When was the last time you saw an MLS player --or recently departed MLS player-- get the bedroom rock tribute song treatment? Personally, I haven't seen an acoustic anthem like this since Evan Brown was with Seattle back on 2009.
It's indeed a rare a treat and high praise that my ego is quite jealous of. How come no one writes anthems for bloggers?
Introducing the Depth Chart, a shallow look at the hot topics currently dominating the American soccer conversation.