By SULAIMAN FOLARIN
Can anyone explain why American sensation Freddy Adu is not getting more playing time with mid table AS Monaco in the French Ligue 1?
This is one question that bothers and still perplexes this writer. Yes Adu did not dazzle in MLS when he played for DC United or Real Salt Lake, but amongst young talents in Canada at the FIFA U-20, especially against Brazil, he dominated that game which paraded Pato and Jo.
That’s in the past and even after I interviewed the diminutive star after his transfer to Benfica, it looked like some hope was on the horizon with the move to Portugal. But after riding the bench with Benfica, a loan to Monaco looked pleasant for Adu in the form of experience and with fellow Africans in the league, he has to succeed, right?
Last year, when Adu was in Commerce City, CO to represent USA against Guatemala in the 2010 World Cup qualifier, I spoke with him about the Monaco situation and you could tell he did not really know what to say. This was before the game.
After his impressive performance and free kick in the U.S. team's win vs. Guatemala, Adu was more optimistic, pointing out that the Monaco president and coach watched the game and he expects some more playing time when he returns to Europe.
That was in November.
His last game for Monaco was on December 21 against Girondis Bordeaux. Since then, Adu has not been on the bench for Monaco, currently placed 14th on the league table, and has yet to play a league or cup game in 2009.
Though players like Jurgen Klinsmann, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet along with George Weah have don their colors, Monaco is a shadow of its self, so why can’t Adu crack the team?
Loan deals are done most times for players to get experience and playing time. Manchester United sent Tim Howard to Everton and the Toffees eventually signed the American numero uno. Arsenal sent Mexican international Carlos Vela, then their U-17 purchase, to Spain for some time. Vela is back, but riding the bench due to the experience in front of him. Landon Donovan is getting some time with Bayern Munich, and rightfully so. The same can be said for his LA Galaxy teammate David Beckham.
For Adu, the story is totally different and the lingering question is why? Is it about the teams he plays for, or is it about the player? Adu has been with four clubs in the past three years, a pattern that makes you wonder just what should be the realistic expectations be for him.
Everyone thought Adu's performance a couple of weeks ago against Juventus, which earned praises from Claudio Ranieri would get him back into the team, but that is yet to be seen. The reality is if Adu gets no playing time in Monaco, it will start to affect his game, his confidence and most importantly the opportunity to prove that he is that quality player America needs.
Maybe a transfer to Belgium with Anderlecht or Club Brugge could help his game; get some years under his belt there, but those teams cannot afford his lucrative salary. What about the Dutch league with PSV Eindhoven where DaMarcus Beasley was a success? Maybe even Ajax, a club known in the 90’s to produce quality young talent like Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, and de Boer brothers?
What do you think, share your thoughts on Adu's situation below.