After a long period of waiting and some hijinks on Twitter, Chivas USA fans will not be seeing US international Benny Feilhaber running the midfield in red-and-white stripes.
The Rojiblancos on Tuesday chose to pass up their chance at Feilhaber, which allowed for them to maintain their No. 1 ranking in MLS' allocation order. Feilhaber was later chosen by the New England Revolution after the Philadelphia Union also passed on the World Cup veteran.
Chivas USA’s decision didn’t come without some slight drama, as the club bypassed the 5 pm ET deadline by more than 90 minutes before announcing that they would not bring in the locally raised Feilhaber.
His salary was reportedly the most pressing concern for Chivas USA, who are not willing to financially restrict themselves moving forward because one player, even for one of Feilhaber’s quality.
“This was a really difficult decision because we had to look at a number of factors, first and foremost being if we take him and accommodate his salary within our salary cap, how much is that going to limit us going forward,” said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser in a statement.
“Certainly, we’re looking to address some needs on the team, and having Benny would’ve been great in our midfield because he’s a very, very good player. But the fact of the matter is his salary would’ve been so high that we wouldn’t have been able to make any adjustments going forward.”
Now that a decision has been made, it’s time to wonder just what may lie in the summer transfer window for the Rojiblancos.
With a midfield featuring promising players like Ben Zemanski, Michael Lahoud and Gerson Mayen, and with the decision to decline the option on Feilhaber, it is likely that Fraser will bring in another attacking option – possibly at forward – to boost an attack that has struggled early in 2011.
A number of intriguing options, such as Fulham forward Eddie Johnson and Pachuca striker Hérculez Gómez, have been bantered around as potential targets. But for now, the Rojiblancos are left to collect themselves after a whirlwind few days.
“In the last 36 hours, it’s been looking at every possible scenario that we thought would benefit us, and as unbelievable as it may sound, it seemed like [declining Feilhaber] was the best move for the long-term benefit of the club,” said Fraser. “The summer window coming up is an important time for us and we’d like to position ourselves to make some moves that we think are going to further improve our team.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano