By FRANCO PANIZO
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Jurgen Klinsmann sure is making a habit out of ruffling MLS’s feathers.
A week after saying that he was a “deep believer” of the promotion-relegation system that is used throughout the world but not in MLS, Klinsmann restated his desire on Monday for his players to fight it out and persevere at top European clubs instead of returning home.
The U.S. Men’s National Team head coach was asked point blank if he was concerned about having Michael Bradley play his next few seasons in MLS, and responded by saying that while the league is growing tremendously, he prefers to see the likes of Bradley and Clint Dempsey remain in Europe instead of signing deals with the domestic league like they’ve done in the past year.
“Concerned? There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Klinsmann. “I made it clear with Clint’s move back and (Bradley’s) move back that it’s going to be very difficult for them to keep that same level that they experienced at the places where they were. It’s just reality. It’s just being honest.”
Talking at his pre-game press conference ahead of the U.S.’s friendly vs. Honduras at FAU Stadium on Tuesday, Klinsmann used the player sitting next to him, Jozy Altidore, as an example of what he wishes to see. Altidore went through hard times in his first season at Sunderland in 2013-14, but opted to stick with the Premiership club rather than make a move during the past transfer window.
Klinsmann has backed Altidore in recent days to make a move in the winter if things do not improve with the Black Cats, but prefers it be in Europe, where a starting role is not essentially guaranteed for top American players like it is in MLS.
“I want him to get through the difficult time at Sunderland and maybe make a big step one day to a Champions League team in Europe because that’s where the top players in the world play,” said Klinsmann before reverting to talk of Bradley and Dempsey. “Now, making the step back, I totally get it. It’s a huge financial offer. It’s also connected to many other elements and this league is getting better and stronger every year in which we are all very proud about.
“I want everyone to grow in this environment, but the reality also is that for both players, making that step means that you are not in the competitive environment that you were in before.”
What do you make of Klinsmann’s comments? Does he have a point? Agree?
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