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Clock is ticking for Americans in the transfer market

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                                                                      Photo by ISIphotos.com

With the deadline fast approaching for players to make transfer moves in Europe, several American standouts remain in limbo with just days to go before decision day.

Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Bradley, Frank Simek and Heath Pearce have all been mentioned as potential transfer targets this summer.

One name not on that list is U.S. Olympic standout Marvell Wynne, who has drawn interest from several European teams. Sources tell me Wynne is staying put, at least through the remainder of this season.

As for the aforementioned quartet, let’s take a look at what lies ahead in the coming days:

Oguchi Onyewu

Currently at Standard Liege, Onyewu is about to enter the final year of his current contract, meaning if Liege doesn’t sell him now he will leave on a free transfer next summer. So what’s the hold up? Standard Liege is facing Liverpool in their UEFA Champions League qualifying series, and meet on Wednesday with the winner advancing to the group stage. With Liege having held Liverpool to a scoreless draw in the first leg, Liege could pull the upset, thus making keeping Onyewu for his final season more of a possibility.

Now, if Liege bows out to Liverpool on Wednesday, you can bet that the Belgian club will be looking to sell. Italian club Lazio and Catania, as well as French clubs Lyon and Marseille, have all been linked to Onyewu. Where do I see him landing? I’d go French, and see Onyewu joining Marseille or Lyon.

Michael Bradley

There hasn’t been much in the way of legitimate information about Bradley’s transfer saga. There have been plenty of reports (some completely false, and some in the ballpark) about where he might land but as of today, Bradley is set to go back to Heerenveen. That scenario seemed like an impossibility, and I’d still put serious money on Bradley making a move.

Who is in the mix? There have been reports linking Everton, Middlesbrough, Hamburg and Monaco to Bradley. With Everton still trying to land Stephane Mbia, that leaves Hamburg and Middlesbrough among the publicly mentioned possibilities. One thing I do think has been distorted a bit in media reports is the likely transfer fee Bradley is likely to draw. A player with Bradley’s resume and just one year left on a contract isn’t going to garner a $10 million fee. If Heerenveen expects more than half that they are going to be disappointed.

Where do I see him going? I’d put the leagues in play in this order: 1. France, 2. Germany, 3. England, 4. Italy. (apologies for being even more vague before).

Heath Pearce

The Hansa Rostock defender didn’t look too good against Guatemala last week but that doesn’t mean he isn’t being sought by lower-level Bundesliga clubs. There haven’t been many reports linking him with specific teams but I include him here based on what I’m hearing and on his response when I asked him about leaving Rostock. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move to a lower level German Bundesliga club or Dutch First Division club.

Frank Simek

The Sheffield Wednesday right back has become a bit of a forgotten man as he recovers from a serious ankle injury, but he still played well enough in the Coca Cola Championship last season to merit serious interest from bigger clubs. Aston Villa has been long linked to Simek, but recently signed a pair of fullbacks. So why hasn’t he moved yet? I have a feeling the injury has scared some teams off, though a last-minute move seems a very real possibility.

Where do you see the Americans on the market going? Think Onyewu would do well in France? Is the Bundesliga a good league for Bradley? Do you think someone will help Pearce and Simek avoid playing second-division soccer this year?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. ac,

    I would rather see Bradley go to the Bundesliga because the average player skill level is much higher than the Premiership.

    Cheers

    Reply
  2. psg? Really? Would you move to Nazi goonville as a black American?

    Posted by: northzax | August 26, 2008 at 06:11 PM

    I didn’t realize Paris was Nazi and Goonville. I’m extremely offended and saddened by your ignorance. Ummm.mmm I’m African American with French Roots and a proud supporter of PSG and have been the since the early 90’s. So my answer is yep and I hope to be at the match against Rennes next spring to see Bocanegra play. The small group of nuts you’re referring to don’t reflect the majority of the club. You’re getting old info but better yet, next time you watch a PSG match, look into the crowd with supporters and it’s starting to look alot like Paris and the surrounding areas. Looks alot more diverse than many of the MLS matches I’ve attended. Oh, a few famous PSG supporters whom you may have heard of include: Yannick Noah (he’s been a fan of the club longer than I and actually works directly with the club), Tony Parker, Nicholas Anelka (whom was actually developed in the club’s youth system and has expressed that he wants to retire in the bleu and rouge). If you had half a brain before you responded you would have also remembered that we signed Claude Makelele this season and Lilian Thuram was about to sign before his medical revealed that he had a heart condition which forced him to retire. If you know anything about Thuram, it’s that he’s about as Pro-Black, Pro-Immigrant and Pro-French as you could be but you might remember him as the tall skinny black guy who was one of the reasons why Zidane returned from retirement to play for France.

    Reply
  3. Oguchi Onyewu – Belgium has been good to him. Why not stay unless money is the thing. I hope if he does leave it’s Italy and if it is Italy go somewhere Gooch you play regularly.

    M. Bradley- Just stay in Holland please, learn to control your mouth and tackles on the pitch and then think about moving. THEN AGAIN- LAST YEAR MAY HAVE BEEN THE BEST YEAR YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN TERMS OF STATS SO MAYBE YOU SHOULD CASH YOUR CHIPS IF YOU CAN.

    H. Pearce- I just don’t know. Maybe back to Denmark or maybe Holland?

    Frank Simek – Shame he got hurt because he is a real hardnosed & smart player. Anyone Setanta who watches the championship could tell you that.

    Reply
  4. I heard Robbie Rogers received inquiries from teams from Germany, France, Belguim and Holland (yes Holland, hard to believe after Heerenveen) but he has apparently indicated that he wants to stay with the Crew until next season.

    Reply
  5. north – just because a few fans are racist doesnt mean the whole team/fans/city are racists. If that was the case no one would play anywhere, there are racists in all towns/cities/countries.

    Reply
  6. The reason you get so much information about (American) football players is because the NFL requires teams to disclose information because of the potential effect on gambling. I believe MLB has a similar requirement. Sports leagues where you don’t have a similar requirement, like the NHL, college football, and apparently most soccer leagues, tend to be extraordinarily vague when it comes to disclosing player injuries.

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  7. I think Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are going to sign for the Galaxy to bolster their defense. Oh wait…

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  8. why is it all Europe with u guys? American players need south American experience just as much or even more than a mediocre mid tabla European team… Like for example any team in Argentina. There you will be exposed to the best technique .. Fast thinking and real pressure, I mean the pressure there is scary, and the fans will show up at training to deliver their message if things don’t go the way they expect. And the media… Will eat u alive too. I think americans need that.. They have everything too easy!! The only reason why argentinean players go to Europe is for the money… I would say 80% money and the other 20 new challenge. American players as I view it have the European strength and fitness but that’s not all and they need to cop or be influenced by south American technique, attitude& and huevos!! I would love to see whiney Landon landycakes play in steam like river plate or boca or flamengo… Santos you know? Go there and become a man and less whining. Thais why the best players in the better leagues in Europe are the best in the world, they become men playing copa libertadores and dealing with barras bravas. I’m tired of the usual aspirations US players have and their fixation with PL or Dutch leagues.

    Reply
  9. Guys, I really didn’t realize how vague I made my Bradley section originally. I added a little to clarify it, not much, just a little.

    And Mike, how do you know they’re guesses? Maybe they are, and maybe they’re not. Don’t presume to know.

    Reply
  10. psg? Really? Would you move to Nazi goonville as a black American?

    I suppose the big valuation difference for both Gooch and Bradley is the glut of qualifiers they’ll be playing this fall on this side of the globe. I bet they stay where they are and move in January when does the hex start?

    Reply
  11. I’d say go for PSG or Lazio if he has a chance. I doubt Marseille or Lyon need a quality defender right now.

    Hopefully Bradley can head to either Hamburg or Bayer Leverkeusen but i read Middlesbrough are after him. Hopefully he can sign with them.

    Reply
  12. Actually I was reading Italian News and they are saying that Atalanta is looking into Michael Bradley. The team is investing in some young talent, especially in attack. He’s rated as one of the top young prospects affordable to serie A mid-level teams which in my opinion are a lot stronger than any other mid-level team in any other league in the world.

    Reply
  13. I life’s in Germany and I never heard that 1899 Hoffenheim want Pearce (They want a forward (Derdiyok, Rafael Sobis)). To be serios i never heard from Pearce, to. I think he gonna stay at Rostock.

    Reply
  14. Well, I’m still trying to figure my Euro allegiences for the year. Last year FulhAmerica made it easy for me…this year I’ve got too many field players in too many places.

    My personal hope is that Bradley stays in the Dutch league or goes to France. I would not like him in the EPL, he does not need work on his work rate, but rather he needs work on technique and linking which to me means Spain…but those are not listed as an option. Given that stay in Holland, maybe Italy, but most certainly not the EPL.

    Reply
  15. “A backline of Gooch and Titus Bramble at the same time!!

    The unintentional comedy value would be off the charts.”-The Athority

    Didn’t we see that with Gooch at Newcastle?

    Reply
  16. metrostar 4 Life,

    I would literally pay $20 to watch Gooch play for Wigan on TV against any of the big 4.

    A backline of Gooch and Titus Bramble at the same time!!

    The unintentional comedy value would be off the charts.

    Reply
  17. The media let us down with O’Brien big time. There was something definitly going on with him that was never told.

    I hope Bradley stays in Holland another year. If he moves now I think he’ll be a monumental BUST.

    Imagine if he wasn’t American and you had never seen him play before. All you knew was that you were getting a 21 year old International midfielder who scored 19 goals last year!! Maybe the next Kaka?

    No way he is scoring more than a hanful of goals in any of the big leagues and they might be disappointed.

    Reply
  18. Gooch doesnt have the foot speed for the EPL. Think about Senderos as an example, he could very well thrive in Italy where the pace is not nearly as great.

    Reply
  19. Michael Bradley would also be absolutely perfect for the EPL. He’s physically, great in the box, and has a decent shot that can get him a couple of goals.

    Reply
  20. Onyewu is sitting pretty right now. If Liege knocks Scouse out of Champion’s League then he stays for Champion’s League Football. If Liege is knocked out, he’s off to who knows where. There’s talk that he could go to PSG. We’d start him right away but his time there would be limited due to the Sakho (18yr old also being called Thuram version 2.0). He’d also be eligible to play UEFA Cup with PSG. He could go to OM or Lyon but I’m not sure if he’d be Cup tied for Champion’s League, so that could be the deciding factor. I’d hate to see him go to Lazio anywhere else in Italy would be great but not Lazio.

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  21. My bet that if Everton can’t get Stephan Mbia, then they will go right to Michael. Especially with Timmy backing Michael up. Everton can’t afford not buying a midfielder. Michael would probably cost a lot less than Mbia. I really don’t know why Everton don’t buy them both if they do get Mbia because they do need more than just one midfielder.

    Reply
  22. I think Bradley would be a perfect fit with Timmy at Everton. I would love to see a guy like Onyewu back in the premiership maybe on a weaker team like Wigan to get that good valuable playing time. If the options are 2. Bundesliga for Pearce, he might as well come to MLS

    Reply
  23. A writer in the GuardianUK, in his Ligue 1 preview, mentioned that the only reason AS Monaco went for Adu was to try to lure American investment money into the club. If that is the case, I think bringing a second high profile American player is definitely in the cards.

    Ives, can you confirm the motivation of Monaco in regards to Adu?

    Posted by: seamus

    Seamus,

    you’re referencing a British publication about an American player in Ligue 1 when you’ve got both France Football and L’Equipe, don’t you find it odd? Even if you don’t speak French and if the above were true, they would have broken that story awhile back, you would have heard about it. I read both publications on a daily basis and it’s never been reported.

    Brief History of Monaco

    Monaco tends to go after good players that won’t break the bank and historically they’ve been very good at attracting such players. They also tend to do a good job of developing that talent and they may have more outposts for scouting talent than any of us could imagine. As a player, if you go to Monaco, chances are very good that you will play on a regular basis. Monaco has hyped Freddy’s arrival big time and that’s a good sign. We’ll see how much time he gets this week but the answer to your question is that he’s there because they want him not to attract American money. The team is owned by the Royal Family of Monaco and in the past they’ve put money into the team only when they looked as though they would win big. The money issue with Monaco has more to do with the Royal Family releasing funds for the team. They seem to be “fiscally conservative”.

    Reply
  24. Personally, I don’t think any of them will move before this window shuts. I see both Gooch and Bradley just playing out their contracts, and then moving on next summer.

    Reply
  25. Ives, thanks for narrowing down the options for Bradley! Germany, England, Italy, or France? Really?

    Just teasing…thanks for the update!

    Reply
  26. How about Onyewu and Bradley to Middlesbrough. Remember a few years back when Onyweu had a physical at Boro then Fulham but for whatever reason it didn’t work out.

    Why would anyone pay money 4 million pounds (SW asking price) for a player that hasn’t played in a year? Frank Simek stays the entire year and hopefully comes backfrom injury.

    Reply
  27. Of all these guys, Bradley is the only one I’d really like to see go this transfer period. Onyewu would be the second on that list, but even so, I think his stock might be better next summer– clubs need longer to forget about the Newcastle mess. As for Simek and Pearce, I don’t think they’d be better off– they need more PT where they’re at, if you ask me.

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  28. And no ,Simek isn’t going anywhere until he can demonstrate that he is fit again. I expect that this will take an entire season given the “cone of silence” we see settle over these types of injuries.

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  29. Injuries…Why is it that we get minute detail ona football player or baseball player’s injuries and only VERY general information on a soocer player’s? Simek is a great case in point as is Cory Gibbs. All last year we heard that Simek was “week to week” on his ankle inury. Noe Ives calls it “very serious”. Well what was it? Did he break it? Was it an achilles? WE NEED MORE INFO!

    This also leads me to wonder about Spector. First we hear its his shoulder and I just recently read it is a hip injury. Could we be seeing a Bo Jackson here?

    We, as big soccer fans, are being done an injustice here. You never heard from O’Brien again after God knows what happened to him.

    I hate not knowing justy how bad these injuries are or could be.

    Reply
  30. Thanks Ives. I know that Everton are chasing a more high profile central mid, but I really think that could be a good destination for Mikey.

    Reply
  31. A writer in the GuardianUK, in his Ligue 1 preview, mentioned that the only reason AS Monaco went for Adu was to try to lure American investment money into the club. If that is the case, I think bringing a second high profile American player is definitely in the cards.

    Ives, can you confirm the motivation of Monaco in regards to Adu?

    Reply
  32. I’d like to see Bradley go to a Premiership team with the Bundesliga the 2nd option. Hopefully playing in the Premiership will help to hone his attacking skills more. The Bundesliga is a decent league, but is too physical at times, meaning the rythme of play is too inconsistent. In England, he would be able to learn to think faster on the ball, which will hopefully help improve his national team game.

    Reply

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