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Eddie Johnson granted UK work permit, signs with Fulham



                                                          Photo by ISI Photos

U.S. national team forward Eddie Johnson has been granted a United Kingdom work permit after having his appeal granted following a meeting with a work permit panel on Wednesday, sources close to Johnson confirmed on Wednesday.

The work permit has cleared the way for Johnson to sign with Fulham. Johnson inked a deal that will keep him with the London club through the 2010/2011 season.

Johnson bought out the remaining year of his contract with MLS for a fee sources are putting in the neighborhood of $4 million. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl wrote about the buyout clause back in 2005 and revealed that it kicked in last January.

MLS and the Kansas City Wizards were eager to see the deal go through for fear of losing Johnson on a free transfer after the 2008 season.

So why sign with Fulham when the club is struggling so badly? Well, one thing that is clear about Fulham is that its ownership isn’t afraid to spend money so even if the Cottagers are relegated the chances are that the club will have the resources to make a strong push to return to the English Premier League after one season.

Fulham is currently five point behind a pack of three clubs at the bottom of the EPL standings. The Cottagers has 15 games to make up five points on at least two of the following team: Birmingham, Wigan and Sunderland. Bolton is six points ahead of Fulham, giving the Cottagers four teams it can attempt to catch down the stretch.

What do you think of Johnson signing with Fulham? Think he could flourish? Think Fulham just made a big mistake? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Ed-

    He has not been played out of position this year. He was their starting left center back and was captain for quite a few games in the beginning of the year when Sanchez was in charge. (Konchesky has had the left outside back position all year) Than Sanchez pulled him from the starting line-up when Stefanovic came in. He’s been splitting time with Hughes and Stef.

    Boc’s is not all the great of a defender. He’s always had issues with consistency. Mainly it’s a mental thing. He seems to have a lapse here or there and as you well know, in the prem, one slip up and it’s usually an opposition goal. There have been quite a few goals given this year that have come from his watch. Not to say there hasn’t been other defenders on Fulham giving up goals also. In fact a big part of the problem at Fulham is not necessarily their defense but that they have no defensive presence in midfield. Oddly, Sanchez got rid of both Diop and Brown who filled those roles and left no one to fill their boots.

    I’m not a Bocanegra hater or anything. I’m not convinced he is a starting defender in the Premier league.

  2. I hope EJ gets it together and lives up to what appeared to be great potential. I REALLY wish he had not hurt his foot and interrupted the great streak he was on with the USMNT.

    At that time he seemed like he was destined to become the best striker the U.S. had ever produced by far. He desperately needed confidence to break through on the International level and it looked like he had finally gained it. Where would EJ be now if that streak had been allowed to continue? Surely if he had continued that tear much longer he would have gained permanent confidence and maybe have become a different player today.

    I hope Fulham is what he needs to break through again. Maybe Dempsey can get him going again. I just hope he doesn’t end up like other great hopes we have had like Jovan Kirovski and John O’Brien. (What the hel* happened to him? It’s really sad.)

  3. Factoids:

    Marlon King deal isn’t dead. He did not fail a physical. There is disagreement over the price.

    Fulham signed Danish midfielder Leon Andreasen and Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland recently.

    Rangers’Gabon international forward Daniel Cousin, is discussing personal terms after the Scottish Premier League giants accepted Fulham’s improved offer of £3million.

    Other targets for Fulham include former Liverpool, Barcelona and Ajax veteran striker Jari Litmanen and South Korean forward Cho Jae Jin who are both training with the club – Cho had an inconclusive trial with Portsmouth last week after turning down a contract in the Japanese J-League.

  4. Well I for one believe Eddie Johnson will be ablt to hold his own. In the MLS he was already a top player, and how many times could he have been actually been push to play at his best. I’m happy he’s made a move to Europe, and into the BPL. This shows to me that he wants to improve, and wants to be the best. Plus its a good thing that he will be in Fulham with Dempsey there to help him along, but to also push him to keep working hard, and to help his technical game that many ppl believe he lacks, or does not have. I can’t wait to see this guy play for Fulham, and I think he can make a very good impact for the team overall. Also I would not be suprised, if he were to played in the outside flank so this way he will get more chances at improving his aggressiveness, and improving his mettle at going at defenders one v one. Its been done before, and could work for EJ in the long run. Overall only time will tell on what EJ will become. Jozy and EJ USMNT strike force 2010.

  5. I agree with many of you — this all depends on which EJ shows up in England. He is not much in the air, but I am more concerned about his occasional lack of aggressiveness. He plays scared for the USMNT sometimes, and he won’t even be in the side if he does that in the EPL.

  6. From all the USMNT games I’ve seen in which EJ played, he is crap in the air. He has no interest in going up strong for the long ball – so what does it matter that he’s 6’1″? The coach is impressed with his height, but if he doesn’t use it like he should, then he’s no better in the air than someone 5’1″.

  7. Why are people acting like Kasey Keller will ever be starting for Fulham again? (Barring an other emergency situation, which is the only reason they got him in the first place) He is at least third in line and he might be gone after this year.

  8. Brian Q, why don’t you see Bocanegra staying? Their defense is horrible and for some unknown reason they have been playing him os a left fullback. He’s clearly a way better player when deployed centrally – either as a CB or D-midfield which is played earlie this year for Lawrie.

    Just because he missed 2 games doesn’t mean they are unloading him.

  9. unfocused use of speed, clumsy primitive technical abilities…EJ’s ready for the Prem.
    If the EJ who’s been showing up on NAT’s duty the last 2 years, he’ll be back by the summer.
    If it’s the EJ who debuted like a house on fire lo these many years ago, he could be a star.
    I hope it’s the second option. If not, at least he gave it a try. Kinda have to when someone is tossing money like that in your face.

  10. Which Eddie Johnson will show up? The one who started off strong in US National team play or the one who sulked his way through the 2006 season? Or the Eddie who came back strong in MLS in 2007? We’ll see if he gets his head in the game and works hard. No one’s expecting you to blow up in England, Eddie, so show us something and prove your doubters wrong!

  11. Keller played in a reserve game behind closed doors yesterday. So he’s almost there. McBride is not far behind. I don’t see Bocanegra staying the team a lot longer however. Unless he want’s to sit the bench. But we will see.

    Thanks Ives for the clarification. Confusing to say the least.

  12. If it was a traditional transfer then KC would get the full $6 million, or whatever the exact figure is. Normally, players get a percentage of that but I’ve been told that MLS contracts have wording that doesn’t even let the player get the cut.

    In this deal, Johnson buys out the contract then pockets what’s left. There’s nothing KC can do about it because Johnson could have just balked at a transfer.

    So instead of getting no cut of a transfer, Johnson gets somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million. I’ll try to get some hard numbers but the point is Johnson made out on this deal. KC and MLS got a nice chunk too so nobody can feel bad for them.

  13. I can’t wait to see Fulham play on t.v. now. Once mcbride and keller come back, there could be 5 yanks on the team. incredible!!

  14. Hoya,

    I agree with you on the evaluation of Fulham’s forwards. BTW, you didn’t mention what a piece of garbage Kuqi is off the bench.

    All Fulham do is play the long ball anyway. Getting Mcbride back will help a lot as he can hold off defenders and keep position when they boot it downfield. Also, EJ just needs to run into space. He’s a much better finsiher than Dempsy and look at how many goals Dempsy has.

    Overall, who cares if it works out or not, it makes all of our lives easier because we can keep track of every Yank Abroad but just TIVOing Fulham games now.

  15. You have to believe that the boss sat down with McLegend, Boca and Dempsey and asked for the full no-holds-barred opinion about EJ. And the opinion came from guys who have played against him and with him in practices and games. At the end of the day, you must assume that the Yanks had a lot to do with the signing. Or at least confirming EJ’s worth…from people who know, but don’t necessarily like him.

    Hope he does well

  16. Although I’ve said plenty of critical things about EJ, he’s a Yank Abroad and I wish him nothing but the best. Realistically, either he learns a work ethic, or he rides the pine. I’m hoping EJ forces his way into the starting lineup and allows Dempsey to slide back into an attacking or wing midfield role. Hopefully they then successfully translate their experience back to the National Team. Hey, a guy can dream right…?

  17. Transfering Clint Dempsey there is really where he grew as a player and learned how to be a good forward….maybe Lewis will be able to learn there like Dempsey did and take his game to the next level.

  18. “This must’ve been part of EJ’s contract from the start, MLS wouldn’t have walked away from a transfer fee if they could help it.”

    Right – this is the only way it makes sense. If the contract had a clause that gave EJ the right to a buyout, then he could pocket the transfer fee. Otherwise, MLS would just be giving the transfer fee (less buyout) to EJ as a gift.

    Presumably, not too many other players have a buyout clause in their contract.

    As to the move – I have mixed feelings. Too many USMNT players are about to be relegated in one fell swoop. However, top of the CCC is still probably better competition than MLS, so it should help EJ’s game (hopefully).

  19. Thanks for the clarification on that. Here’s to hoping he can get into an attacking midfield role at some point b/c I think he’d flourish. And here’s to not seeing Healy or Kamara on the field from here on out. Cheers.

  20. BK-
    Not to be having a private conversation with you, but you are correct. He has rarely dropped into center midfield and if he has it’s been more of a central midfield role.

    With Sanchez, he would sometimes put another forward in, have Davies move from right outside mid to center mid and Dempsey would shift to right mid. He’s also played right outside mid, target forward, attacking forward and paired forward with Camara. All very different roles.

    I think I remember one or two games where he was moved towards the end of the game to a withdrawn forward but with two other forwards (3 total) to try to get a late goal.

    The problem is that between Fulham’s injuries and lack of decent forwards he hasn’t been able to be used in that position. Nor do I know if he will in the future.

    If you think about it, how many teams in the bottom half of the table play with that sort of a formation? If McBride comes back strong, it’s possible. That could also be helpful with a Bullard and Dempsey both switching off as to who pushes forward.

    Cahill sort of does that for Everton but they have Arteta with him. In fact I really like Tim Cahill and if you think about it, he a Dempsey have some very similar qualities.

    You’d have more midfield presence but you would need a strong D-midfielder to do that and we just don’t have that at this time.

    OK, back to Eddie J. Sorry for the detour there. It’s not my fault, it’s BK’s. : )

  21. Hey Ives,

    I’ll join the chorus in asking for a clarification on the $4 million buyout. Is there an additional transfer fee, or is that it? Did Fulham pay the $4 million? And who gets the money if it’s just a buyout (not a transfer fee)?

  22. @johnny

    theres no way he will score 4 goals.
    i think one is a good number, 2 maybe a little hopeful.

    asene wenger said it best when he said it takes players about half a season to completely adjust to the premiere league.

    i think he will serve the same role as benny feilhaber does at derby, but (if) fulham get relegated, i expect him to play a pretty sizeable amount of time including maybe a starting role, depending on his competition for the spot.


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