If you’re like us (and can get away with streaming ESPN3 at the office), your workplace productivity has taken a major hit since the European Championship kicked off. And that’s fine as long as you’re good about hiding it – or if your boss is a fan.
Luckily, I’ve found the perfect excuse: I’m scouting the Euros for my employers. This is a fun game all MLS fans like to play with every major tournament, so let’s dig right into it. Based on my observations (and some appreciated scouting help from my colleagues and my Twitter followers), here are five players I’ve seen so far into these Euros that might make a good fit in MLS.
Some would require DP-type offers – no surprise there – but there are some hidden gems who would be great fits provided the right teams hurry up and make those Discovery Claims. Without further ado…
Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
This one’s been rumored for a while now and the flying Dutchman could be a fantastic fit in MLS, provided the right team forks over big DP money. And we all know where this is going.
That said, the case can be made so far that Sneijder has driven his price down since the 2010 World Cup, where he was hands down one of the top three performers in the tournament. The Inter Milan man hasn’t reached those heights since then, mostly underwhelming along with his club as they’ve shuffled through head coaches.
Sneijder’s been rumored to be on the outs at the San Siro after Inter’s disastrous 2011-12, and an early Dutch flameout from the Euros could be a further precursor for a move.
What MLS team in need of a world-class No. 10 wouldn’t want his services? Or maybe the better question is, is there any MLS club the glitzy Sneijder and his gorgeous model wife would even consider other than…
Best fit: LA Galaxy, New York
Kim Källström (Sweden)
A three-time Euro veteran with a World Cup under his belt, Källström is a fantastic little player and could be looking for a new challenge after six seasons with Lyon, who are no longer the consistent Ligue 1 power they used to be.
This might take a mighty effort and DP money – especially since Russia’s Rubin Kazan are reportedly offering to triple his current salary – but there are teams in MLS who could make this happen. The 29-year-old attacking mid’s vision, versatility and dazzling left foot could make a lot of fans happy.
There are only a few teams could pony up the money and hard sell to get this done, but there are some obvious landing spots for a talented Swede.
Best fit: Seattle, New York
Dimitris Salpingidis (Greece)
Might be a question of bad timing here, as Greece’s super-sub has re-discovered his international touch in Poland and could be driving up his price after a huge performance in the opener against the co-hosts.
Salpingidis is 30 – about the right age for someone to swoop in on him and convince him to leave the Greek league, the only professional home he’s ever known. PAOK have been hit hard by Greece’s economic crisis and are looking to sell – and MLS has been mentioned in the various reports.
An expert poacher, he’d be perfect for a team needing a timely scoring touch up top when the rest of the system may not be working quite right. Paging Frank Klopas!
Best fit: Chicago, Philadelphia
Ruslan Rotan (Ukraine)
You can keep your creaky-kneed Andriy Shevchenko, who has pined away for MLS for five-plus years. I’ll take Rotan, a feisty right-sided midfielder who could be the new Dema Kovalenko, but a more athletic version who can chip in with a goal here and there, too.
Rotan has a good international pedigree beyond this Euro, dating back to the 2006 World Cup cycle. Like Salpingidis, he’s never played outside his native country, and at 30, he’s got a lot left in the tank. Could be had for the right price for a team needing a tireless worker.
Best fit: Portland, Toronto
David Limbersky (Czech Republic)
I’ll credit my colleague The Armchair Analyst for doing the proper vetting and scouting on Limbersky, a left-sided defender or midfielder. He’s had brief spells at Tottenham and Modena in Italy, but has yet to stake a real claim outside the Czech Gambrinus Liga, where he’s a been a standout performer for FC Viktoria Plzen.
Limbersky has European experience at the club level and has been in and out of the Czech squad – this Euro is his first major tournament, and he showed some nice stuff against the Greeks. At 28, he’s the perfect age for a leap and could greatly benefit a team needing someone to overlap on the left side.
Besides, Lubos Kubik can’t be the only Czech player to make it MLS forever, right?
Best fit: New England, Montreal
Jonah Freedman is the managing editor of MLSsoccer.com. “The Throw-In” appears every Thursday.