American Exports: Top five transfer-deadline questions
AMSTERDAM — The summer transfer window may have slammed shut on Wednesday, but questions about market action around American Exports still remain the day after. Let's try to answer them.
5. Which American Export had the roughest summer?
The window certainly did not play out well for Schalke's Jermaine Jones, who early in the summer looked like he was heading straight back to loan employers Blackburn one way or another.
With a high salary heavily limiting his options, the best chance Jones had to escape Felix Magath was probably that first one. He understandably didn't warm to some Russian interest, was always a fallback option for Roma despite them meeting with his agent, and was among a crowd of late options considered by QPR.
But wherever it was he went to seal a move on deadline day, things didn't work out, and he's back to Schalke until at least January.
4. Which move came closest to happening, but didn't?
No contest: Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu had an Auxerre transfer in place until a domino named Delvin N'Dinga refused to fall.
Lyon made one offer in late July, and then a second of more than $14 million as the deadline neared. While l'OL chief Jean-Michel Aulus was in no laughing mood after rejection part deux, his public comments about price-gouging Auxerre still seemed theatre to move things along.
Nope. That was it. Aulus angrily walked away from N'Dinga and Edu remained in Glasgow.
Creativity bonus points get awarded to Genk, who managed to price themselves out of an already agreed Villyan Bijev loan by demanding that Liverpool pay them a large fee for taking the youngster this season. Yes, you read that right — and no, we've never heard of that before, either.
3. How good a fit for Michael Bradley is Chievo?
Does the phrase "like a glove" ring a bell?
For starters, Bradley will immediately be expected to contribute a great deal at Chievo. Sure, he could have had the chance to join sexier choice Roma near the deadline if the timing had gone a little differently, but a source told MLSsoccer.com he would not have been assured of a starting place there.
Chievo are a fairly capable team that is often underestimated and has the indignity of playing second fiddle to a Serie B side in not-always-fair Verona. Feeling disrespected or misunderstood seems to stoke Bradley's competitive fire, as any USMNT fan can testify.
Serie A play also suits his game. Italian soccer is much more tactical than what Bradley experienced on loan to Aston Villa last season, fitting his thinking-man's approach.
Finally, one of the biggest knocks on Bradley has been that his fiery temperament sometimes leads to a card rage. Correct or not, landing in Serie A well obscures any supposed fits of irrationality on the field. Heck, in Italy, that's just called waking up.
2. Who was the biggest American Exports winner of the summer?
There were several to celebrate, notably including Bradley, Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Jonathan Spector and fresh US call-up Fabian Johnson.
However, nobody did summer business like the fine fellow now doing proper autumnal business in Alkmaar. Before Jozy Altidore arrived at AZ late last month, he was a player roundly questioned and searching for a stable work environment while nursing a hamstring injury that knocked him out of the Gold Cup final. Ouch.
Since being brought to the land of cheese by former USMNT star and current AZ technical director Earnie Stewart, Altidore is all smiles.
Learning the system to be used by the US national team going forward, Altidore already looks much more efficient. Of course, there is the small matter of those five goals in his first five AZ matches. And suddenly, we all have to put shades back on to look at his future.
1. Were Arsenal really trying to acquire Clint Dempsey on deadline day?
Ah, the $64 bazillion question. With the full answer only known by those not talking, we can’t confirm that the rumor was false. However, we have also not found a single stitch of evidence that the Gunners ever made a move for the Fulham star.
What we do know is who wasn't clamoring at the deadline for MC Deuce to play their town.
Paris Saint-Germain effectively dropped out the second they splashed a shade under $60 million on Javier Pastore three weeks ago. Perhaps Dempsey can take the lack of a PSG offer out on Newcastle, who repeatedly failed to name the right price for support forward Mevlüt Erdinç all summer.
Even after their deadline day Romaric sale, an exec with one-time race leaders Sevilla again told MLSsoccer.com that an offer for Dempsey was "impossible" due to a budget trimmed by their Europa League exit the week before. Both AS Roma and Fiorentina never made potential sales, leaving them also short of the necessary cash. Aston Villa became more concerned with finding a right back after Luke Young's sale and Eric Lichaj's injury within two days.
There may have been even some mystery browsers we don't know about, but as things turned out, Dempsey is still sitting pretty in west London. Fulham added an excellent, hungry, soccer-playing defender in Zdenek Grygera, which will definitely help in their deceptively tough Europa League group (and hopefully beyond).
More importantly for Dempsey, they added Bryan Ruiz to the attack. If you think Deuce was effective before, just wait. With the Costa Rica wing terror at his side, he will have more space and tee-ups at the Cottage than ever before.