Postcard from Europe: Whispers abound on big US names
AMSTERDAM — While our boys in Red, White and Blue are taking care of business on the field at the Gold Cup, things are moving quickly off the pitch during the summer silly season. Here's a fresh snapshot of the potential transfer pictures developing around some of our finest American Exports.
Jozy Altidore (Villarreal)
It's hard to say where's Altidore's future lies until that of American-born Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi becomes clear. But Jozy suitors are hardly waiting around for Villarreal to announce definitively that he's for sale.
At the moment, a big Eredivisie club has taken a tentative lead for his services, MLSsoccer.com has learned. A source close to the talks says they have now progressed to the point where the sides are talking numbers.
It is worth noting here that only a handful of Dutch clubs at most would conceivably be able to afford a deal for Altidore, that both Ajax and PSV Eindhoven have scouted the US power forward before and that both of those clubs are expected to be in the market for a new striker this summer.
Looking beyond the low land of tulips, Altidore now has multiple Premier League sides calling — though according to his agent, nothing in England has blossomed beyond the initial seeds. Turkish reports claim Bursaspor, the club where Altidore was on loan this past season, have had a $4.3 million offer accepted by Villarreal, but they finally seem to be accepting that he won't be back.
Elsewhere, a weekend French report claimed that Saint-Étienne had made a loan bid for Altidore, but his agent told MLSsoccer.com that the story was untrue. Reports in the Spanish tabloids have recently linked him with interest from 2010 admirers Sporting Gijón and Osasuna.
Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro)
The midfielder is changing his own transfer picture, simply by continuing to work Gold Cup duty. An injury replacement for New England's Benny Feilhaber, Bedoya could end up with as many as five senior match caps from the tourney and 10 overall since last summer by Saturday's final.
A source told MLSsoccer.com that this development has given longtime admirers Rangers new confidence that they can obtain him a UK work permit on appeal. Factoring in the mutual admiration between the parties, the Scottish champs must be considered the current frontrunners.
Conversely, interest for Bedoya has died down in Belgium and the Netherlands. Multiple sources have indicated that Örebro are asking seven figures in August for a player set to go free in January, which would logically explain the sudden disappearance of suitors in the extra-thrifty lowlands.
MLSsoccer.com also has learned that winter auditioners Birmingham City have dropped out of the race, at least for the time being. Bedoya does still have has mild interest from a pair of Ligue 1 sides and Kaiserslautern — though they, too, now seem to have turned to other targets.
Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
A week or so ago, a notably sketchy Italian outlet claimed that both AC Milan and AS Roma had been calling up to enquire about booking MC Deuce. It turns out this tabloid website had cut the broken clock's lead in half on that day.
As reported previously in this space, Dempsey is not being considered by Roma. They appreciate him as a player, but for various reasons, he is just not for them.
However, MLSsoccer.com can confirm via multiple sources that Scudetto champs Milan have been on the horn a few times over Dempsey. There is nothing serious in the way of discussions to report thus far, but we can now add the Rossoneri to an early summer incoming call list that includes Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and a mystery top-level EPL side.
It must be noted that though Dempsey has never stated a desire to leave Craven Cottage, he did recently admit to yearning for a taste of Champions league action.
Maurice Edu (Rangers)
Separate reports from the erratic Turkish press have placed the Rangers midfielder in the sights of Bursaspor and Champions League qualifiers Trabzonspor over the last week. A source close to both clubs informed to MLSsoccer.com that the report about interest from Bursaspor was correct, but said the Trabzonspor rumor was exactly that.
Still, being that Edu has shown even less intention to move away from his club to date than Dempsey has, it seems best not to start packing his Ibrox bags just yet.
The AS Roma "Project"
As of Wednesday, the Giallorossi have begun meeting with agents of the American players on their famous browsing list. They met with the rep for Schalke's Jermaine Jones and a source close to the Serie A giants has confirmed other sitdowns are going in the date book.
While Jones is not their top target, his position, pedigree, transfer status and European passport make him a player for whom Roma actually could bid; nevertheless, the opinion here is that the tabled offer from Blackburn, where the German-American spent the past six months on loan, remains the one to beat.
The fact of the matter is Roma have more urgent priorities at this time, starting with finding a new 'keeper target after experiencing some Maarten Stekelenburg sticker shock in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
MLSsoccer.com has learned that Roma remain most smitten with LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan, despite negative initial reaction to their interest out of the HDC. Michael Bradley and perhaps even Brad Guzan are still possible targets, but the Italians were well scared off by the price tag hung on Timothy Chandler and an English source indicated that Aston Villa told Roma that Eric Lichaj was not for sale.
Meanwhile, back to Jones, his agent and a secondary German source have refuted reports linking his client with interest from Fulham, Stoke City and a number of Bundesliga sides.
Regardless, it's an exciting time for the US national team's biggest names. The summer has just begun.