OBETZ, Ohio – Columbus Crew defender Giancarlo Gonzalez is raising eyebrows at the World Cup, where his Costa Rican side will take on the Netherlands in the quarterfinals (Saturday, 4 pm ET, ESPN, Univision, CBC).
The Costa Rican stalwart has been an imposing presence in the five-man Ticos back line, and has even garnered “best 11” mentions worldwide.
And while the world is introduced to Gonzalez in Brazil, Crew boss Gregg Berhalter is happy that he scouted him before the exposure, and was more certain about his transfer than most.
“Over the course of transferring players in and out, you want more to work out than don’t work out,” Berhalter told reporters at Crew training Tuesday.
“I think the more research you do, the more familiar you are with players, the more background you have on players, chances are you increase the likelihood that they’re going to work out. I was very familiar with [Gonzalez], having scouted him before, so that helps.”
Berhalter said that the team hasn’t heard any offers for Gonzalez, but that he can’t say whether they will or not.
“I can’t predict that. We’ll obviously field offers as they come,” he said. “It’s a market where there’s certainly movement. You see some of these players from the World Cup signing with clubs and stuff like that.”
Gonzalez is an important part of a back line that Berhalter admits he asks a lot of, and the coach acknowledged that the center back is “a key piece to the team.” But he couldn’t deny that an offer may be too attractive to turn down.
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“We’d certainly field an offer, but we’re in no rush to move him along … you would look at it,” he said. “I made it clear that we don’t want to get rid of him, but if something came that you couldn’t turn down, you would have to consider it.”
The decision wouldn’t be an easy one for Berhalter or the Crew. But for a team that has struggled to score all season long, some creativity and scoring ability might be easier to find with money from a Gonzalez transfer.
“In the end, you want to do what’s best for the club, and that’s how you make the decisions,” Berhalter said. “What’s best for the team and what’s best for the club.”