Photo by ISIphotos.com
Where will Freddy Adu go next?
That's the decision the young midfielder is pondering after a second European club decided to give him back to Benfica after failed loan stints. Belenenses seemed like a good destination when Adu first went there, but the loan proved to be as pointless as his stint at Monaco.
As it stands, we have to at least consider the possibility that one of Adu's options is a return to MLS. If that is, in fact, one of the possibilities, we should start considering potential destinations.
Before we do that, it should be noted that no team in MLS is going to pay Adu what he was making in Europe. No team is spending a designated player slot on him. The only way Adu can return to MLS is if he takes a serious paycut, probably to $250,000 or lower. If Adu is willing to take that sort of paycut, then MLS should be an option again.
Here is a rundown of the clubs that might be potential destinations for Adu:
Not the first club you expected to see listed? It might actually make the most sense given Adu's ties to FC Dallas assistant John Ellinger and Schellas Hyndman's preference for young players. And David Ferreira? The club has yet to re-sign him, though given how well he played last year it would be tough to think that he wouldn't re-sign. Dallas might also have to consider the fact that the club has struggled to sell tickets and Adu just might be one of the few names who could draw fans to Pizza Hut Park (and yes, it would be ironic if he returned to MLS and joined Dallas considering Dallas was basically strong-armed by MLS into giving up the No. 1 overall pick D.C. United used to draft Adu almost six years ago).
Sounds like crazy talk doesn't it? Peter Nowak couldn't possibly want to re-unite with Adu after their first marriage at D.C. United. Right? Don't be so sure. I spoke with Nowak at length about Adu earlier this fall and didn't get the impression that he held any grudges against the midfielder. It should be noted that Adu played for Nowak on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 (and played well at times). Why would it make sense? Nowak would be the one in total control this time around, unlike back in 2004, when Adu was essential Major League Soccer's golden goose. Nowak just might be the coach to bring the best out of Adu (or finally break him). At the very least, Philly will likely help determine where Adu goes since it holds the No. 1 spot in the new MLS Allocation Order.
Would D.C. really bring back the player it unloaded happily just a handful of years ago? It could make sense for a variety of reasons. Christian Gomez is on his last legs, D.C. is a club that has long catered to one-way playmakers like Adu and Curt Onalfo did a good job of resurrecting Eddie Johnson's career at Kansas City. Adu reviving his career in D.C. would make for great headlines, and he would also be re-united with close friend and former U.S. Under-17, U-20 and Olympic teammate Danny Szetela, which might help both players find their form.
This destination might not sound like a natural fit, but with Houston set to lose Stuart Holden to Europe, the Dynamo just might have room for Adu's playmaking abilities. Head coach Dom Kinnear is one of the most respected coaches in MLS and is probably as well-suited to help Adu find his form as anybody. Kinnear also recently took a chance on another high-profile reclamation project in Luis Angel Landin so we know he's willing to gamble on young potential.
REAL SALT LAKE
Could Adu really return to RSL and play in the stadium some people believe he helped build? No, not really. Real Salt Lake just won a title and boasts Javier Morales in the playmaker role. RSL doesn't need Adu, but I had to list the club since it was his last MLS destination (and because I wanted an excuse to run the great photo above). Then again, perhaps Adu could fill out the club's right wing role. On second thought, let's not completely rule this one out (and for those of you wondering, RSL doesn't still have Adu's rights if it spend the transfer funds it scored when he was sold to Benfica, which I believe is very likely).
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The Red Bulls have longed for a productive playmaker since trading away Amado Guevara and Adu would offer up a marquee name as the club heads into a new stadium. No, this move doesn't really make much sense, but it's the Red Bulls so you can't rule out anything.
Where would you like to see Adu go in MLS if he came back home? Which club makes the most sense? Which club is the last place you think he should go?
Share your thoughts below.