Sunday tabloids are for light reading and gossip. So here's a good one for entertainment value.
David Beckham has yet to decide where (or if?) he’s playing in 2013, but if you’re the sort who trusts those loveable UK rags, he’s apparently delivering a handful of fellow English World Cup veterans into MLS to take his place.
According to a report on Sunday in The Mirror, Becks will try to sell Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch, Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick on the league.
Of course, the report also makes the tired suggestion that MLS would be “an ideal destination for them to finish their careers.” That said, the entire quartet is around the same age Beckham was when he made the jump over from Real Madrid six years ago.
In the same report, another Englishman, Jermaine Pennant, suggests that a Stateside move could revive his stalled out career.
“Playing in America is a strong option for me,” he is quoted as saying. “You only have to see the caliber of players there of past and present to see how the league is improving. It is getting stronger with every year.”
The 30-year-old winger – who never delivered on his promise when he debuted for Arsenal as a teenager – has never really quite fit in anywhere. Add to that his history of disciplinary and legal problems, and you have to wonder if any MLS team would take the bait. Then again, Luke Rodgers worked here for a time...
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday.
If reports in Germany are to be believed, the Chicago Fire were close to adding another German warhorse to their roster, only for Borussia Dortmund to commit to captain Sebastian Kehl for one more year.
There's been speculation in Germany that Kehl's place in the Dortmund team is at risk with Nuri Sahin returning from Real Madrid on loan, but Bild reported Wednesday that manager Jürgen Klopp will exercise the club's option on the midfielder, preventing the 32-year-old from linking up with Arne Friedrich in the Windy City.
Had the Fire been able to land Kehl – assuming their rumored interest was indeed concrete – he would have provided a direct replacement for Pável Pardo, who announced his retirement last week. As it stands, Pardo's place will most likely be filled by Jeff Larentowicz, acquired from Colorado in a trade prior to the MLS SuperDraft.
What do you think? Would Kehl be a good fit in MLS? Do the Fire even need another central midfielder after a busy offseason?
UPDATE: Word from the Fire makes this one almost certainly the work of an enterprising agent rather than actual interest in Kehl.
Asked Frank Klopas about Sebastian Kehl this morning. Said there was no approach and "we have enough central midfielders". #cf97
— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012
If reports out of England are to be believed, Norwich City fans might want to familiarize themselves with heart-shaped hands and Chipotle.
On Wednesday, Sky Sports reported that, according to sources, the Canaries have made an offer for Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara. When contacted by MLSsoccer.com, Sporting KC declined to comment.
Kamara, a Sierra Leone international, already trained at Stoke City this offseason and "is believed to be in the last year of his contract," per the report.
Since arriving in Kansas City at the tail end of the 2009 season, the 28-year-old striker has become one of MLS' most-imposing wingers, scoring 30 goals and dishing out 18 assists in his three full years with the club.
What do you think? Should Kansas City be open to selling Kamara? How would he fit in the EPL?
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:
CORRECTION: D.C. United has not yet clinched Carolina Challenge Cup championship. I apologize for the confusion. #MLS
— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012
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?
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?
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?
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).
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?
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?