It’s official: The list of foreign stars not rumored to be moving to MLS is now easier to track than the burgeoning roster of those that are.
[inline_node:313577]The latest group of reportedly soon-to-be MLSers includes Patrick Vieira, Roberto Carlos, and Marco Materazzi (Zinedine Zidane’s new BFF). Those three follow last week’s trio of Nicolas Anelka, Guillermo Franco, and Adrian Mutu.
At this rate, we’ll be hearing about Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale any day now.
Yes, it was another dizzying week of offseason activity, with superstars floated as imminent additions to the league, a few big-name MLS players potentially headed in the opposite direction (to Europe, that is), and an Akron Zip–studded Generation adidas class unveiled for 2011.
There was also a dash of controversy, a sprinkling of veteran signings and, assembling in Carson, Calif., tomorrow, a heaping helping of MLS players for the first US national team camp of 2011.
Let’s get to it.
Spur of the Moment?
There have been more loan rumors involving David Beckham recently than there have been gossip items about him in Us Weekly in the past three years.
[inline_node:319367]First it was Blackburn, then Everton, Newcastle, West Ham, Blackpool, and Sunderland—followed by talk of Arsenal and Manchester United. For good measure (and to kick silly season into high gear), Chelsea and Real Madrid were added to the list of potential Beckham destinations.
Now Tottenham enters the fray, but this report seems to have some grounding in reality, at least where Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is concerned. He told the BBC: “We'll contact LA Galaxy to see if they will let him go and if David is up for a three-month deal, we will definitely be interested.”
Redknapp added that Beckham very much wants to head over to “the freezing cold and play football. Doesn't that tell you something about the boy that he lives in Los Angeles and might be a billionaire?”
Whether or not the 35-year-old “boy” truly wants a third consecutive winter loan, or will be able to work it out with the Galaxy, remains to be seen.
We’d say that he, and his Achilles tendon (along with a few other tendons—and ligaments, and joints), could use a rest this offseason, a lá his LA teammate Landon Donovan.
The import-export department was also the site of this week’s controversy, as Toronto FC attacker Dwayne De Rosario traveled to legendary Glasgow side Celtic FC for a trial that both MLS and TFC say was not authorized.
[inline_node:318689]De Rosario insisted he had been given permission by his club, but subsequent moves by Toronto officials to work out an official arrangement with Celtic suggested otherwise.
This episode comes on the heels of De Rosario’s “check writing” goal celebration late in the 2010 season, a pointed and public display of dissatisfaction with his situation in Toronto.
DeRosario was one of two MLS vets training with Celtic this week as former Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders Designated Player Freddie Ljungberg also worked out with the club. The 33-year-old midfielder did well in his trial, and signed with Celtic last Thursday.
Now that his US adventure is officially over, the Swedish star looked back on it fondly: “I had two fantastic years in America and have seen MLS go from strength to strength. [I] would not trade my time there for anything in the world.”
Edson Buddle: No Mug
Out-of-contract US international and LA Galaxy striker Edson Buddle visited two UK clubs in December, and by the end of the month had no fewer than six teams reportedly interested in his goal-poaching services.
[inline_node:312784]After a two-week trial with Birmingham City, Buddle stopped off in Glasgow for a visit with Rangers before returning to the US for the holidays. Since then, both Birmingham and Rangers have expressed some interest, along with Everton, Wolverhampton and Stoke City, according to Sky Sports.
League One side Sheffield Wednesday (former home of US soccer pioneer John Harkes) reportedly contacted Buddle’s agent about a deal, with Wednesday manager Alan Irvine telling the Sheffield Star, “He has scored a lot of goals for LA Galaxy. He's also played in the World Cup for America. He's obviously no mug.”
Joining Buddle in the obviously non-mug camp is Colorado striker Omar Cummings, who has also drawn overseas interest. He trained with Premier League side Aston Villa last week, and Villa manager Gerard Houllier suggested that a loan deal was in the works.
Be that as it may, Colorado wants Cummings back for their MLS opener on March 19 against Portland.
Just weeks after the 2010 Generation adidas side completed an undefeated tour of Spain, MLS announced its GA class of 2011.
The new crop of nine players stands a good chance of having at least one thing in common with the 2010 group: a breakout player from the University of Akron. That’s because this year’s class includes a whopping five (out of nine) players from the Zips’ 2010 NCAA championship team.
Odds are one of them will emulate Teal Bunbury, who contended for the Rookie of the Year award and received his first U.S. national team call-up this season after leading the Zips in scoring in 2009.
Related: Of the 24 players called into the US national team camp that opens tomorrow, 20 are young MLS players. Twelve of the 24 have never been capped before, and six have made just one appearance for the U.S.
Yep, it’s safe to say that this is not only a new year but also a new era for U.S. soccer.
- We mentioned six teams possibly interested in signing striker Edson Buddle. There’s also a seventh: the LA Galaxy. Bruce Arena’s team added depth to their backline last week by signing Re-Entry Draft pick Frankie Hejduk, but with Buddle’s status uncertain and Juan Pablo Ángel (their other Re-Entry Draft pick) still unsigned, the LA strike force for 2011 remains very much up in the air. They’d definitely like to see their 17-goal man back in the fold.
- MLS Cup finalists FC Dallas did themselves a favor by getting 2010 MLS MVP David Ferriera on board for a multiyear contract. The 31-year-old playmaker, who had been on loan from Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense, agreed to a full-time deal just before Christmas, with final details to be worked out in early 2011.
- [inline_node:325672]While the Columbus Crew signed 30-year-old Chilean defender Sebastian Miranda to replace Hejduk at right back, they were still in the negotiation phase with striker Jeff Cunningham, whose rights they selected in the December 15 Re-Entry draft.
- Former Red Bulls and Chicago Fire coach Juan Carlos Osorio did a 180 (a Cruyff turn?) on Chivas USA last week. After reportedly being on the verge of taking the Goats’ top job—with some outlets saying it was a done deal—Osorio re-signed with Once Caldas, the club he recently led to the 2010 Colombian championship.