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Rumor

22 January 7:25 pm

If the reports are true, Vancouver are looking to the Land of the Rising Sun to help bolster their midfield. 

According to Sponichi Annex, Daigo Kobayashi, currently with Shimizu S-Pulse in the J-League, is poised to sign with the Whitecaps sometime this week.

The 29-year-old has more than 10 years experience as a professional while logging time with Tokyo Verde, Omiya Ardija, Stabæk, Iraklis Thessaloniki and S-Pulse.

The 'Caps also have Japanese midfielder Jun Marques Davidson and South Korean defender Young-Pyo Lee on their books, so they're no stranger to shopping on the Pacific Rim. With the exit of Barry Robson this week, there's room in the Vancouver midfield for a string-puller like Kobayashi, who wears No. 10 for his club side and has one cap with the Japanese national team.

EDIT: Marc Weber of The Province confirmed the move on Tuesday afternoon, followed by this tweet from the official Vancouver account:

 

15 January 3:52 pm

US international Robbie Rogers’ contract with Leeds United has been terminated by mutual consent, so what does that mean for the winger’s future? Could a return to MLS be in the cards?

The Columbus Dispatch has some early details for those wondering. For now, though, Rogers' agent is staying mum on the subject of potential destinations for the former Crew star.

The 25-year-old joined the Championship side 12 months ago after a successful trial period, but a head injury and ankle injury limited his involvement to just one start and three further appearances as a sub.

Rogers left MLS on a free transfer after five seasons with the Crew and is free to sign with any team overseas, but his rights belong to Columbus after the club made the left-footed winger a qualifying offer after the 2011 season.

Should Columbus bring him back? Or should Rogers look for another landing place in Europe?

15 January 2:04 pm

In an interview with EuroSport.com, French defender Pascal Chimbonda admits to following MLS and says he’d like to play in the US.

“I would like to play in the USA, this is a dream,” Chimbonda said. “I feel close to this culture and I appreciate it.”

Chimbonda is currently without a club since he left Doncaster the end of last season and hopes to give his career a jump start during this transfer window – and from the sound of it, the US seems to be his top choice.

When asked about the possibility of joining his former teammate Thierry Henry in New York, Chimbonda’s answer only emphasized his desire to join any team in MLS.

“There are other clubs in MLS,” Chimbonda said. “I know some clubs are looking for good defenders. I’m 33 and a right side, you are far from being cooked at this age.”

What team do you think would the best fit for Chimbonda? Would you welcome him to MLS?

15 January 1:57 pm

Could MLS be the next move for Cardiff City striker Robert Earnshaw? Well, that depends on who you believe.

Earnshaw's days as a Bluebird seem be over after returning to the Championship side on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv, but the local papers aren't wasting any time linking him with Vancouver, where former Cardiff City man Kenny Miller plies his trade.

How much weight there is to this one is debatable, though. The only line suggesting Earnshaw has suitors in British Columbia isn't exactly full of specifics: "There is thought to be interest in his services from MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps."

He's got to go somewhere, however, because after returning from a brief stint with former Israeli Champions League side last month, where he dealt with rocket attacks and a way of life he simply wasn't comfortable with, Earnshaw found himself on the wrong side of Cardiff City’s manager Malky Mackay’s plans.

“I imagine Robert will be looking to play matches, which is not something he is going to get here,” Mackay told the Cardiff City News.

Whether that means in Vancouver still remains to be seen. What do you think? Would Earnshaw be a good fit for the Whitecaps? 

14 January 3:51 pm

Le marché des transferts entre la MLS et l’étranger a été très actif depuis le retour de vacances, que cela concerne des arrivées définitives, des prêts, des départs, des rumeurs ou des joueurs désignés.

Ainsi, deux nouveaux joueurs désignés sont arrivés sous forme de prêt. Portland pense avoir trouvé son maître à jouer en Diego Valeri, en photo ci-dessus sous le maillot de son ancien club, Lanús (Argentine). De son côté, DC United a été chercher à Bahia (Brésil) l’attaquant Rafael, deuxième plus jeune joueur désigné de l’histoire de la MLS. Autre prêt, celui à Montréal du milieu italien Andrea Pisanu par Bologne.

Alors qu’il a laissé partir Kevin Hartman, Dallas lui a trouvé un remplaçant en la personne de Raúl Fernández, gardien de l’équipe nationale du Pérou acquis à titre définitif aux Français de Nice. Autre international qui fera ses débuts en MLS, le défenseur équatorien Diego Calderón quitte le LDU Quito pour Colorado. De son côté, Vancouver a ramené sur le continent le géant américain Brad Rusin, qui avait tenté sa chance au Danemark. Le principal transfert interne du début d’année est le passage de l’Estonien Joel Lindpere de New York à Chicago. Notons aussi que Tyson Wahl, laissé libre par Colorado, a signé à Columbus.

Le départ qui a surpris bien du monde est celui d’André Hainault, qui quitte Houston pour rejoindre Ross County, mal classé en D1 écossaise. Le fait que Roger Espinoza rejoigne aussi les îles britanniques, et plus précisément Wigan, était en revanche attendu depuis longtemps. Son coéquipier Graham Zusi s’entraîne pour sa part à West Ham. Andy Najar (DC United) a réussi son entrée en matière à Anderlecht (Belgique), où il est prêté pour un mois. Fredy Montero a déjà dit au revoir à ses coéquipiers, même si son départ de Seattle n’est pas encore officiel. On l’annonce à Millonarios, en Colombie, pays où pourrait aussi aboutir Carlos Valdés (Philadelphie).

11 January 12:26 pm

Rumors have been flying about the future of the US international and Chivas USA striker Juan Agudelo ever since he trained at Celtic in November. Now, it seems the 20-year-old's future could be close to decided.

Although vague and unsourced, Sky Sports reported Friday that Celtic are close to signing one of MLS' most-promising forward prospects. While nothing has been confirmed by Agudelo or Celtic, Agudelo's retweet of the Sky Sports article seems to add some veritas to the rumor.

Chivas USA, meanwhile, told Big Apple Soccer back in November that they weren't interested in transferring the young talent. Agudelo, who is currently training with West Ham before arriving in US camp, would likely welcome the move, if his comments while with the Glasgow club are any indication.

Agudelo told STV at that time that he would love to play for Celtic: "This kind of move has been on my mind for as long as I can remember playing soccer. Going and playing in Europe is what I would like to do. This is, right now, where the best football is being played. I would love to play here."

What do you think? Is it just a matter of time before Agudelo makes the move? Is it the right move for the young striker?

10 January 5:41 pm

Scottish striker Kenny Miller might be on his way out of MLS if he doesn’t prove he’s worth the Designated Player spot in the coming months.

The Vancouver Whitecaps' prized striker joined the team last July and didn’t quite live up to the goalscoring star club president Bob Lenarduzzi was hoping for. Miller scored just two goals in 13 games and had what Lenaruzzi described a “disappointing” season.

According to Lenarduzzi, Miller's future, "really depends on how well he does."

If Miller’s contract is terminated early, a certain Ibrox side is rumored to have their eye on their former forward. Could this mean another return to the Rangers for Miller? Is three times a charm?

08 January 4:25 pm

The New Year may bring another much-needed move for Maurice Edu, the former Toronto FC No. 1 pick and 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year .

In August, Edu jumped from Rangers to Stoke City in hopes of gaining valuable Premier League experience. Unfortunately, he’s only seen 10 minutes of playing time with the club. 

With World Cup qualifiers inching closer and closer, Edu simply can’t afford to be sitting on the bench. But sources are reporting that Edu may be in luck – Stoke City are open to loaning him out by the end of January, so the versatile defensive midfielder doesn’t jeopardize a spot on Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup qualifying roster.

Where exactly Edu would end up is still up in the air, but there has been chatter suggesting he could join up with EPL sides poised to lose players to the African Cup of Nations as well as several Ligue 1 clubs. 

If you were Edu, where would you want to end up on loan?

07 January 12:20 pm

With rumors flying over who will step in as the next head coach of the Red Bulls, one name seems to be a step closer to taking the reins in New York.

Previous speculation centered around former Aston Villa caretaker manager and Scottish international, Gary McAllister, but those rumblings seems to have stalled in recent days, leaving the door wide open for Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa. 

Making things even more interesting, Sousa just stepped down from his post at Hungarian club Videoton FC for "family reasons" – perhaps they prefer to be based in New York City? – which means his schedule is wide open for the 2013 MLS season. And, in the words of Alexi Lalas, Sousa is "a good bet to be the next coach of the New York Red Bulls."

Only time will tell who will take Hans Backe’s place at Red Bull Arena, but the clock is definitely ticking as the MLS Player Combine and the SuperDraft are quickly approaching.

Do you think Sousa is the right choice? Can he help the Red Bulls break the Curse of Caricola?

04 January 3:58 pm

The Portland Timbers certainly haven’t stood pat this offseason.

General manager Gavin Wilkinson and first-year coach Caleb Porter have already injected steel into the side – acquiring MLS vets such as midfielder Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, versatile defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC and Jamaican striker Ryan Johnson from Toronto FC – and now they could be poised to add some much-needed creativity.

If the rumors currently flying are true, the Timbers could have another midfield acquisition in the works: Argentinian Diego Valeri.

At only 26, Valeri is entering the prime of his career and would be a promising acquisition for a Timbers side in need of a bit more attacking oomph. It also helps he seems to be out of favor at his current club.

Valeri currently plays for Club Atlético Lanús in the Argentine Primera División, where he’s made 156 appearances since debuting in 2003 and captained the team in their 2011 Clausura runners-up campaign, but hasn’t seen much time since ex-Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto took over as manager. Of course, that’s where Portland come into play.

Should the Argentine make the move to the Pacific Northwest, the Timbers could have the type of creative midfield presence that would allow Darlington Nagbe to shift permanently to the withdrawn forward role many believe will bring out the best in Porter’s former Akron prodigy.

He’s no stranger to foreign adventures, either. In July 2009, Valeri was loaned to Portuguese champions Porto, where he played one season, then spent six months on loan with Spanish second-division side UD Almería.

What do you think? Is Valeri the answer in Portland? Will the Timbers’ offseason moves pay dividends in 2013?