U.S. Men's National Team

Americans who need to make winter moves

Oguchi Onyewu (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

With January here, the winter transfer season is upon us and while the moves of big European stars will rule the headlines, there are a bunch of American players in dire need of loans or transfers this month.

You know it's not an ideal trend. Seeing so many European-based Americans recording 'Did not Play' and 'Did Not Dress' in our Americans Abroad section. For many of those players, a loan or transfer is absolutely imperative because another half season of sitting on the bench will hurt their careers and, for some, their national team standing.

Here is my Fox Soccer piece on five U.S. national team pool players who absolutely need loan or transfer moves this winter. Most of them are expected to move, but these aren't the only players who could potentially use a change of scenery.

It should also be noted that there are some players who people might think need moves, but who are better off staying put. Here is a look at some other American players who could make moves, players who could use moves and some players who are unlikely to move:

Eddie Johnson, Fulham

He garnered some playing time for the Cottagers thanks to a slew of injuries, but with Fulham forwards returning, Johnson has been pushed to the side again. It's probably time for him to pack it in and look for a new club.

Kenny Cooper, 1860 Munich

Having just recently recovered from a broken ankle, Cooper is back with an 1860 side he seemed destined to leave before being sidelined by a long-term injury. His career has hit the skids since leaving FC Dallas and you have to wonder if it's time for him to come back to MLS. Whether he comes back or not, you have to wonder how long he could last in Germany.

Eric Lichaj, Aston Villa

You might think it's crazy to include Lichaj on this list, but given Gerard Houllier's recent rant about Lichaj's mistakes in Aston Villa's loss to Manchester City, and Lichaj's subsequent benching, you wonder if he'll have a serious chance to play much the rest of this year. If he isn't, Lichaj could be well-served to go on loan. He had a pair of productive loan spells last year and needs to be playing. Of course, if Aston Villa sells Luke Young, Lichaj could wind up sticking around to provide cover.

Marcus Hahnemann, Wolverhampton

When you lose the starting job on the worst team in the English Premier League, it's time to move on. You figure Hahnemann will return to MLS eventually, and this winter is as good a time as any.

Jozy Altidore, Villarreal

Many U.S. national team fans are frustrated by the fact that Altidore doesn't see more playing time, but the fact remains he's on a top team in a top league and is still getting minutes, and in cup play, he's getting starts. The bigger concern is his lack of goals, but the fact that Altidore is still getting playing time suggests he is impressing Villarreal's coaches. With Brazilian star striker Nilmar sidelined by a knee injury, Altidore could benefit with even more minutes. In short, Altidore is in a good spot and doesn't need to go anywhere.

Michael Bradley, Borussia Moenchengladbach

When Bradley failed to make a transfer move last summer it was seen as a missed opportunity for a player who enjoyed an outstanding World Cup, and that feeling has only intensified as Bradley's club sits in the Bundesliga relegation zone. As much as Bradley would be better served to be on a better club, Moenchengladbach won't be selling in the middle of a relegation fight. Bradley is much more likely to move this summer, when he'll have just one year remaining on his contract.


Which players are you hoping make moves this winter?

Share your thoughts below.

  • dc101

    Vela? world class?? sure whatever you say, this is a guy who doesnt start or rarely plays for arsenal unless they are up by 3 goals, and a player who rarely starts for his national side, and did squat at the world cup, is there something in training that shows that he is world class?


  • Second City

    Edu moving to an EPL club this year would be fantastic.

    I’d also love to see a listing of the not-so-prominent (young) Americans that are plying their trade abroad and met with “DNP’s”.

    Cervi, for instance, is a player that could do quite well from playing in his own domestic league. Developing & then making the jump with something on his resume.

    The fact that Cervi, in some circles, is highly rated and yet can’t get a match on a bottom-feeder in the SPL of all leagues…should serve as a reminder to young Americans that making the jump, for the sake of making the jump isn’t always smart for ones career.

    I’d love to see our American’s cut their teeth in MLS, get some professional experience and development and then make the jump.

    Not saying it can’t be done the opposite way (ie, Lichaj) but I think there is a good argument for the other trend: Holden, Edu, Dempsey, etc.

    More recently: Ream, Bornstein, Agudelo & Burnbury.

    Plus, it’s a bonus for American fans to see the up & comers of our national pool.

    Obviously ambition is warranted and money talks but I’m just saying. I guess in a perfect world we’d see the route I’m suggesting.


  • Freegle

    As far as loans, I’ve read that MLS will not accept loans of players from overseas into the league unless there is an option to buy clause in the loan agreement. If that is indeed true (Ives?) I’m sure that demotivates a lot of loans to the MLS, regardless of salary differences.


  • Memories...dey'b'gone.

    They aren’t “slipping” it’s because it appears to be an actual suggestion.

    Not the tongue-in-cheek mentioning that you’re trying to placate to and be funny.

    Speaking of funny, that “Adu-Time” hasn’t been funny since the first week you and others tried to make it funny…which was around the time Saved By the Bell was still pumping out new episodes.

    Let it go, Rory. Find something else to be funny about or “that guy” who is witty.


  • Paul

    Wow — I seem to have started a little argument. For the record, I’m not an Adu lover, or hater, but just a fan still trying to figure out how he fell off the edge of the football world, and whether he’ll ever make it back. Odd to be talking about a comeback for someone so young.


  • tnnelson

    that’s pretty ridiculous for him to say. lichaj was in bad situations because he was covering for blown assignments from midfielders and from the two centerbacks. while he definitely had a few mistakes, they could have happened to a veteran defender and were really more his teammates’ faults than his own


  • Louis Z

    good point made. I always hear this club is not good for this person etc. how about the player improving enough to crack in the lineup?


  • Louis Z

    there goes the age factor again. we should be talking about how much he has improved (if any) in the years that he has been getting professional training. Have a seeing progress? yes, I think he hold way better, what he hasn’t improved at all is his finishes. either airial or ground.


  • Sandtrout

    Which better-funded club (than Bolton) needs an attacking center midfielder? That’s the one I’m betting on!


  • Jack

    I’d add Feilhaber to this list too.

    Agree that Bradley isn’t going anywhere this winter. His club is going to be fighting relegation for the rest of the season and they’d be stupid to sell one of their best players.

    I personally have been a fan of Spector’s for awhile. I think that the “versatility” that he’s always lauded for has actually been his downfall. He was trained to be an attacking midfielder and ended up on defense because that’s where the US and Sir Alex needed him. Fast forward a few years and we have his performance against Man U a few weeks ago, where it was pretty evident that the back line is probably not Spector’s place. Grant is obviously not a fan of his, but I feel like, with the right environment and manager, Spector could become a really awesome player.

    And I’m glad that someone agrees with me about Eric Lichaj. Houllier made it pretty clear with that inappropriate rant that he won’t be doing Lichaj any favors at Villa. And, unfortunately, it seems like Houllier is going to be sticking around for at least the rest of this season. Unless Villa sells Luke Young, I would really like to see Lichaj either loaned out to or sold to another club. He’s still working on his consistency, but I think that he’s proven that he has some incredible potential at right back.


  • Laughable

    Agudelo should play regularly in MLS before considering anything else. That’s something he’s yet to do.


  • RedLine55

    I’m with you “away goals”. And it’s not like all these players are just picking up checks and sitting at home while their skills plummet. They are always getting better just by being with these much better teams. If you don’t need to be in the papers and all the websites every day, might as well get paid a ton in this short time and improve as a professional athlete. That especially goes for now when there is another 3 years until WC considerations come around.


  • Jack

    I would be reeeeeeeally surprised if Bolton sold or loaned Holden this January. Holden is an integral part of their success this season–you can definitely see it in the way that the midfield plays when he’s not there–and Coyle is obviously pretty attached to him. However, depending on how this season goes, I suppose that I could see some bigger clubs possibly interested in him in the summer. Bolton needs money and, with the way that Holden has developed (not to mention the fact that he was absolutely free), he could probably have a very nice price tag.


  • eurosnob

    Kelly, you’ve lost credibility when you said “a team which only plays south american players.” Rossi, who is Villareal’s starting striker, is certainly not a “south american player.” By the way, Altidore started several Europa league games for Villareal and came of the bench in the latest La Liga match. With the season-ending injury to Nilmar, his playing time should only increase.


  • mikeandike


    so basically half our USMNT that are playing in top-tier leagues needs to move somewhere else to get playing time, right?

    Gooch, Spector, Lichaj need to go elsewhere- only Dolo and Boca are in stable situations…

    Jermaine and Benny need to move- Holden, Edu are assured of top-flight minutes next year, while even Dempsey and Bradley are fighting relegation…

    Jozy, EJ, Charlie Davies- no forwards are getting regular minutes in Europe, wow… that is scary…

    Findley, Buddle, Bornstein are all about to join new clubs…


  • scott simon

    I must respectfully disagree with Ives and most people on this blog about Jozy Altidore.

    Getting minutes playing in Cup games is completely different than getting minutes in La Liga regular season. Villareal is looking to have a great season and therefore the Cup games are of less importance. That is why they sort of play their B team for those games.

    I feel Jozy would be better served by moving to a club where he could consistently start in regular league games. However, I think the problem is that there is not much demand for him in Europe. I would rather see him start every game in the MLS and remember how to score than to get a few minutes in less important games in Spain.


  • scott simon

    I must respectfully disagree with Ives and most people on this blog about Jozy Altidore.

    Getting minutes playing in Cup games is completely different than getting minutes in La Liga regular season. Villareal is looking to have a great season and therefore the Cup games are of less importance. That is why they sort of play their B team for those games.

    I feel Jozy would be better served by moving to a club where he could consistently start in regular league games. However, I think the problem is that there is not much demand for him in Europe. I would rather see him start every game in the MLS and remember how to score than to get a few minutes in less important games in Spain.


  • matt

    I never said he played bad in the Man U game, I said he played badly in the starts that he earned after playing well in that game… Spector (like many top youth athletes) did play FW when he was 15/16, but he certainly does not show the kind of skill to play there now… hey, I generally like the kid, he shows a great attitude and gives a good effort every time out… I was just disagreeing with the notion that he somehow deserved more time than he was getting… and I still think he could be a better CB than FB


  • art

    well there are those (myself included) who would argue Casey earned a trip to South Africa last summer. Cooper? Not so much.


  • GW

    “Kenny Cooper can thank his dad for where he career has gone over the last couple of years. ”

    That is not true.

    Cooper’s career has hit the skids because he has had a series of injuries and has been unable to play until recently.


  • GW

    EJ has made a ton more money the past few years by being in Europe than he would have by staying in here in MLS.

    While he may soon have to move from Fulham it’s pretty clear there are a number of lower level European teams that would take him on and where he would do well like he did in Aris. He is also a better player now than he would have been had he stayed here.

    I’ll agree he still doesn’t look good for the USMNT but that may just be a case of a player not fitting into a team.

    In any case, I doubt EJ has any regrets over going to Europe when he did, nor should he. If you are a professional soccer player you want to play at the highest level you can for as long as you can.


  • GW

    “on a team which only plays south american players. ”

    I didn’t realize that New Jersey was in South America. They alos used to play Pires who is from France.


  • Allegre

    True…This is the problem with most US Overseas-ers…MLS needs to start paying these guys.

    Gooch to MLS…make it happen!


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