What a difference a year makes.
Just 11 months ago, George John embarked on a loan deal to now-English Premier League side West Ham United with many wondering if the big defender would ever again don the red and white of FC Dallas.
While John’s road has taken many twists and turns over the last 18 months, his three-year contract extension with FC Dallas announced Tuesday ensures that he will be a cornerstone of Schellas Hyndman’s defense for years to come.
George was not immediately available for comment about his new contract, but according to his agent, Ted Philipakos, FCD technical director Fernando Clavijo sold John about the vision he has for the future.
“Fernando came in quickly and aggressively and I think it really made an impression on George,” Philipakos told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “He really made the point and expressed how much he wanted George there and how much he valued him.”
John turned down offers from major clubs in Greece, Israel and Scandinavia to stay in Frisco, something that looked to be unlikely just a few months ago.
“We did have some interesting options abroad from some prominent clubs that have participated or are still participating in Europe right now,” Philipakos said. “But Fernando’s pitch did stand out. … I think his desire to win is very evident and he sold George on his plan to win.”
The second half of the puzzle – finances – also had to line up for John to stay in North Texas, and if there’s one team that won’t mind the current economic instability in Europe, it’s FC Dallas.
“The fact of the matter is, Dallas stepped up and made a very competitive offer,” Philipakos said. “It did match up, more or less, to what he was being offered in Europe. … When you’re talking about comparable offers between here and abroad, you have to take into account the fact that there’s stability in MLS, while, for example in Greece where he was getting a lot of interest, there’s an economic crisis.”
With John locked up, Clavijo now turns his attention to signing another forward and filling the hole at defensive midfield left by Julian de Guzman’s likely departure. The Canadian international is out of contract with the club after joining via trade from Toronto earlier this season.