Monday Morning Center Back: Has Christian Gomez priced himself out of MLS?

Monday Morning Center Back: Has Christian Gomez priced himself out of MLS?

Major League Soccer

Monday Morning Center Back: Has Christian Gomez priced himself out of MLS?



                                                    Photo by ISI Photos

Good morning all. It was a pretty quiet weekend (well except for the FA Cup, African Cup of Nations, Serie A and La Liga) but action should pick up on the U.S. front this week (as well as the European market).

One of the bigger stories this week will be the shopping of Christian Gomez, who is officially on his way out of D.C. now that D.C. United has locked in on Argentine playmaker Marcelo Gallardo. Steve Goff reported on Sunday night that Gallardo has already arrived in the nation’s capital. That sound you hear is Christian Gomez calling U-Haul.

The list of suitors for Gomez, which at one point consisted of half of the teams in the league, shrunk considerably once it became clear that Gomez was unwilling to budge from a demand of a two-year guaranteed contract at a maximum salary of $400,000. The 33-year-old midfielder is seeking some security but teams aren’t in a hurry to tie up a big chunk of their salary on a player who some feel won’t be worth the investment in a year’s time.

One team that dropped out of the race for Gomez was Toronto FC. TFC coach Mo Johnston is a fan of Gomez and wanted to pair him up with Maurice Edu, but ultimately the $400,000 guaranteed contract in 2009 was the deal-breaker.

So who IS interested? There is at least one team still in the hunt. The list of interested teams keeps on shrinking.

Real Salt Lake, with its own collection of three young Argentines, was looking to include Gomez to the mix and potentially have a central midfield trio of Gomez, Kyle Beckerman and Nathan Sturgis (with Javier Morales pegged for a wing role). Unfortunately for RSL, Gomez’s demand of two years guaranteed has also become a sticking point.

Would it be a good investment for RSL? That depends on what you think he has left. Gomez finished last season with 10 goals and nine assists, reaching those totals for the third straight season. He is still a game-changing player, but last year he did show signs of slowing down a bit. That said, he is still one of the league’s best playmakers and a player whose charisma will make him a fan favorite wherever he goes.

I think RSL is in a better position to gamble than most because I just don’t see the club signing a designated player in the next year or two. So why not give Gomez two years guaranteed and let him mentor the young Argentines, and other young players such as Robbie Findley and Nathan Sturgis? You figure with Beckerman and Sturgis behind him in a 3-5-2, Gomez wouldn’t have to do as much running and could give RSL two solid years.

Whether it is RSL, Colorado or Chivas, somebody should find a way to keep Gomez in the league. He’s too talented and too genuine to let leave. Yes, it will be a gamble to give him a second guaranteed year at $400,000, but it is a gamble that could pay off in a big way.

(UPDATE)- You can scratch RSL off the list of suitors for Gomez. Real Salt Lake is committing to Javier Morales as its playmaker and has pulled out of the Christian Gomez sweepstakes. Who does that leave? Chivas USA and Colorado make the most sense but it remains to be seen whether either team will commit max dollars to a player Gomez’s age. Colorado needs him the most.

What do you think about Gomez going to RSL? Share your thoughts below.

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