Michael Bradley seems to have proven his excellence over and over for the US national team and several European clubs over the years.
But his nationality played a role in English powerhouse Arsenal FC passing on him in favor of Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom in the 2013-14 winter transfer window, his father Bob told Slate.com this week.
Speaking to Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast, Bob Bradley, the former USMNT coach who now leads Norwegian club Stabaek, explained that Michael was on Arsenal's radar as he sought his next destination after he fell out of favor at Italian side AS Roma.
Michael Bradley was keen for an opportunity to prove himself in the English Premier League, where he endured a frustrating loan stint with Aston Villa in 2011, and the UEFA Champions League.
But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis – who worked as an MLS executive for more than a decade before taking his current job – elected to sign Kallstrom on loan from Russia's Spartak Moscow.
“I think American players and coaches have to fight really hard for respect,” said the elder Bradley. “In January, Arsenal [were] looking to add a midfielder, and they chose Kim Kallstrom. Kim Kallstrom's not a bad player, but I think Michael feels pretty strongly that he’s better, and so Arsene Wenger must not feel that way, and Ivan Gazidis must not feel that way.
“So sometimes, no matter what you do, you don’t get the respect you think you deserve.”
Kallstrom proved to be a controversial acquisition, as he was revealed to have been carrying a back injury after Arsenal completed his signing. He missed almost two months of match action and made only three appearances for the Gunners last season.
Meanwhile, Michael Bradley went on to sign a Designated Player contract with Toronto FC, becoming one of the most high-profile signings in MLS history.