Del Piero, Henry top the list of potential DPs
With the Designated
Player rumor mill seemingly churning at an all-time high, MLSsoccer.com takes a
look at six names in the news, the credibility of the rumors and what their
signing would mean for the league.
Alessandro Del Piero – The rumors linking the Juventus star
with a victory lap spent in MLS go as far back as the beginning of 2009, when
the Galaxy were reportedly interested in pairing him with David Beckham. But the
new talk that potentially puts him in a Red Bulls uniform makes a bit more sense.
Juventus are expected to undergo a roster overhaul this summer and Del Piero
could opt for greener pastures and a more starring role in New York, which has
an international fan base that would adore him from the first day.
Thierry Henry – Henry and A-Rod patrolling the same
Manhattan club scene? The ladies will drink to that. The Frenchman’s arrival in
MLS is about as certain as any other plotline set to unfold in 2010, after he’s
teased Seattle and New York and been the subject of MLS rumors worldwide for
quite some time. The house is betting on
an arrival in New York, where his star power should carry some weight with a
soccer-savvy market and hopefully should help soccer make a dent in a saturated
Robert Pirès – The French international will be done with
Spanish side Villarreal after the season, which makes him a prime candidate to
spend his twilight years in MLS. Philadelphia is rumored to be putting out the
bait, but will he take it, and will it matter? Despite Pirès’ impressive credentials
with the French national team and Arsenal, it’s a little tough to imagine the
blue-collar Philly fan base embracing a player who lacks the big-name cache of
some of the other rumored DP contemporaries.
Raúl – Offers are reportedly on the table for the Real
Madrid legend, and he’s toyed with the idea of playing at least a year in MLS
since 2009. His contract runs out at the end of the season, leaving him with
the option to retire into Spanish lore or get knocked around at Pizza Hut Park.
The Spanish press says he’ll take the latter, with – who else – the Red Bulls
in the driver’s seat. The pickup would be a huge one for any team in the
league, but it does feel a bit far-fetched at times to imagine it.
David Trezeguet – More than one member of the Sons of Ben
supporters group are salivating over the idea of Trezeguet landing in Philly,
and the Juventus striker seems at least keen on the idea of finding a new
stateside home. His contract ends in 2011, but the same potential roster moves
that could jettison Del Piero might claim Trezeguet, whose agent recently
hinted that he’s “always a wanted man in the United States.” Trezeguet lacks
the sheer star power of Henry, but the signing would be a coup for any team in
Zé Roberto – Finally, we have some time to talk about the
Red Bulls. The ties to the Brazilian international begin and end with Dietmar
Beiersdorfer, Zé Roberto’s former boss at Hamburger SV who now serves as the
top man at Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. Zé Roberto’s been flirting with an MLS
career since at least 2008, but he shot down a report linking him to a summer
signing with New York in March. Though he’ll appease New York’s Brazilian fan
base, he’s not necessarily the marquee player the team might use with their
third DP slot.