Derby County, the last place team in the English Premier League, is on a serious buying spree and its pending acquisitions may just signal the end of any current or future American presence on the club.
Derby has signed French left winger Laurent Robert and central midfielders Robbie Savage and Hossam Ghaly leaves the futures of Eddie Lewis and Benny Feilhaber in serious doubt. Derby also signed Argentine forward Emanuel Villa, which could signal the end of the club’s lengthy pursuit of U.S. national team forward Eddie Johnson.
The moves shouldn’t come as a surprise for Feilhaber, who had struggled for playing time all season. Now, with Ghaly and Savage in the mix, Feilhaber should be looking for an exit sign ASAP. Derby’s acquisition of Robert comes as more of a surprise and raises questions about the fate of Lewis, who has actually played well for Derby. Might he be slotted for a move to left back? If not, you can’t imagine that Lewis has interest in sticking around as a reserve.
What is next for the Americans? Feilhaber needs to be playing and if that means a move to a Coca-Cola squad like Watford or Sheffield Wednesday then so be it. Another half season of minor minutes would be a disaster for a developing player like Feilhaber.
Lewis’ situation is a little more simple. He’s a veteran who can still contribute and it wouldn’t shock me to see him move to another lower table club in the EPL, unless Lewis decides that its time to come back to the United States. With San Jose ready to return to the league, Lewis might be best served by preparing for that move back to MLS.
The big winner in all this is Johnson, who made one of the smartest moves any American player ever made when he turned down Derby’s transfer bid last summer. With bigger clubs now lining up for Johnson, he is poised for a much better move.
What do you think of the situation for the Americans at Derby? What should they do? Share your thoughts below.