Kick Off: Arsenal want NY's Henry for rest of EPL season
It's no secret that Arsenal are trying to bring back New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry for a second consecutive loan spell during the MLS offseason.
But what's different this time around is that the Gunners are reportedly pushing to hold on to Henry through the end of the 2012-13 English Premier League season. But will new Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh agree to lose Henry for the first three months of the MLS season? Stay tuned to this developing story.
In other New York soccer news, a boisterous crowd packed the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the gills on Tuesday night. The reason for their enthusiasm? A proposed Major League Soccer franchise that wants to set up shop in their backyard.
Leading the discussions was one of their own, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who grew up in the borough and outlined plans that would call for a 25,000-seat stadium (expandable to 35,000) in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park as well as proposals to replace the public park land lost in the footprint of the facility, one of the main concerns voiced by opponents of the project.
"I am a Queens guy," Garber told the crowd. "Like many of you, my family, my parents, my grandparents came to this country and they moved to Queens. This is where I spent the majority of my childhood. … I know when my grandparents first came here they probably could never have dreamed that a kid from Queens could be sitting here today talking to all of you about fulfilling our dream, our dream of having this great game having a home right here in New York City."
Sharing Garber's dream was a group of fans who call themselves the Borough Boys, and president Nick Laveglia said the dream they've been chasing for the better part of five years is starting to look more and more realistic.
"We’ve been harassing Don Garber since 2007 to give us a team in New York City," Laveglia said. "So this night is really special.
"The fans are [here] in New York. What they need is a proper club and proper stadium and to build a stadium in Flushing Park," he continued. "We’re going to march down Roosevelt Avenue into the stadium and cheer our team to victory."
Of course, there remain challenges in the quest to have a stadium built and a team on the field by 2016, the date Garber has outlined as the goal to be up and running: "We have a lot of work to do before we finalize the plan," Garber told the attendees.
Just think what kind of support a Queens native could drum up as part of what is now commonly referred to as "NYC2." Matt Besler already enjoys some of those trappings in Kansas City, and appears to be on the path to re-signing with Sporting with his US national team prospects playing a role in the decision.
Besler is also one of five MLS standouts The New York Times says should be a target of European clubs. Can you guess the other four? One is Besler's teammate in KC.
Sporting made some trade noise for the second straight day on Wednesday, sending a second-round pick to Montreal for Josh Gardner in order to reinforce their backline and left flank.
Gardner was more than happy to make the move after just a year in Quebec, a trend he admitted defines his career thus far: “I’m probably a professional journeyman. That should be my new title, but I’m looking forward to hopefully laying some roots in Kansas City.”
One player who almost certainly won't line up alongside Gardner is Roger Espinoza. Wigan is slowly tightening the noose on the Honduran: "We're working really hard to try to make it happen and we're looking forward to seeing if we can get that one done successfully," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. "There are a few steps: There is the work permit, there are certain aspects we need to fulfill in the paperwork but Roger is a player that we've been following for a long, long time."
Meanwhile, George John is staying in MLS, re-signing with FC Dallas on Tuesday after considering interest from Greece, Israel and Scandinavia. FC Dallas' technical director sold the hulking center back on his future in north Texas, and it didn't hurt that the offer was very competitive: “Fernando came in quickly and aggressively and I think it really made an impression on George,” John's agent, Ted Philipakos, told MLSsoccer.com. “He really made the point and expressed how much he wanted George there and how much he valued him.”
Just days after another MLS Cup win, Bruce Arena is doing his best to make sure the Galaxy stay intact. On Wednesday, Arena told the media Christian Wilhelmsson is unlikely to be back, and revealed the club is trying to keep hold of Juninho for at least one more year: “We've been working [on bringing him back] for a while. We'll keep working on it. We're hopeful we can bring him back.”
Of course, all the talk in LA centers around Kaká. Will he come to MLS and can MLS convince Real Madrid to part with the talented Brazilian? Simon Borg says Kaká is inviting an offer with his public comments this week, while Goal.com's Seth Vertelney argues he's the perfect replacement for David Beckham.
Beckham's name never seems to leave the headlines, and now the column inches are being dedicated to rumors that he's mulling offers to become an MLS owner in New York or Miami. Seems a bit early for that, considering neither actually has a team, but who knows?
Either way, someone will get Becks on a free transfer. See who MLSsoccer.com's Greg Seltzer thinks MLS sides should go after on frees this offseason.
Who should Toronto FC pick up for 2013? The club was the subject of MLSsoccer.com's first installment in the annual "Season in Review" series that started on Wednesday. It includes an interview with Paul Mariner, analysis from the Armchair Analyst and an Opta Spotlight on TFC's dreadful campaign. Need cheering up after all that? Watch all 36 goals the Reds scored during 2012.
One guy who knows a thing or two about scoring, former MLSer Yura Movsisyan, seems to be on his way to Moscow. Read up on the details here.
Speaking of new clubs, Ottawa's new NASL franchise is taking suggestions for the team name. What can you come up with?
Finally, find out why FIFPro, the global players' union, is up in arms after an Indonesian club failed to help prevent the tragic death of one of its players.
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