COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed Thursday that the team has received a bid for defender Giancarlo Gonzalez.
The Costa Rican defender has been a hot topic after the Ticos’ shocking World Cup run, with Gonzalez anchored the team’s backline to worldwide acclaim. Tuesday, a Sky Sports article from England claimed that relegated English Premier League side Fulham FC had submitted a $3 million bid for Gonzalez.
Berhalter confirmed that he has spoken with Fulham and denied their bid.
“We had dealings with Fulham and there was an offer and we didn’t accept the offer,” he said. “I think they’ve moved on and got another player and it’s done. So I wouldn’t expect that we’d be dealing with them again. Other clubs, I’m sure they’d put offers in.”
Berhalter knows bids will be flooding in until the end of the month with the international transfer window closing Aug. 31. He said there is no current offer on the table, and that the team will evaluate those bids as they come.
“When offers come in, we’ll take a look at them,” he said. “We want to do what’s best for the club. We see a certain value for Giancarlo. And we like him here. So I think our value has to be met before we move further.”
Berhalter said he’s had plenty of conversations with Gonzalez about a possible move, and that he and the player are on the same page. The difficulty, he said, is finding the fine line between impeding a player’s career and doing what’s best for the club.
“It’s tough,” he said, “because in the end, you don’t want to stand in the way of a player’s development and a player’s opportunity. But it’s also business.”
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Making the process easier, Berhalter said, has been Gonzalez’s demeanor.
“The thing is, Giancarlo’s been great with this,” Berhalter said. “He’s been level-headed, he’s been focused, and that’s not easy as a player. With all the attention he’s garnered after the World Cup, he’s come back here and just does his work and does his job. He’s a real pro.”
Would the Crew need to find a replacement at center back if Gonzalez were sold? Berhalter made it clear that he deserves to be an All-Star and is hardly replaceable.
“He proved that he was one of the top center backs in the World Cup,” Berhalter said. “It’s interesting to me that, out of convenience, you saw [Portland defender Liam Ridgewell] added to the All-Star team. To me, it’s almost comical in a way that we have one of the best performing center backs in the World Cup and he’s not on the All-Star team.”
One thing that Berhalter is certain about is that the Crew aren’t making an effort to get rid of Gonzalez.
“We’re in a position where we’re going to let them come to us,” Berhalter said, “because he’s a valuable part of our team.”