Postcard from Europe: US World Cup players' transfer prospects
AMSTERDAM – With World Cup 2010 in the U.S. National Team rear-view mirror, several of the players in the squad will now turn attention to sorting club futures.
Some helped their cause in South Africa and some not so much. A few will surely make transfer switches and others probably won't despite some interest.
To help you keep all of the situations straight, let's take a quick peek through the summer transfer window. We can start with the guys most certain to move and work down to the speculation bunch.
Being a fiendish scoop junkie, I won't give away everything learned just yet - but will offer enough info here to at least set the general scenes for you.
The Free Agents
DaMarcus Beasley - The veteran Rangers winger only appeared sparingly in South Africa, but he had some admirers going into the World Cup. Beasley still has interest in the Eredivisie and is periodically linked to old club PSV Eindhoven. There is always the chance an MLS team will jump for him, and he also now has a suitor in Turkey.
Jay DeMerit - The erstwhile Watford skipper had a spotty World Cup; he was often sturdy as can be, but also committed a few glaring errors. Nevertheless, MLSsoccer.com has confirmed that DeMerit has a wide array of offers on the table. One promoted Premier League club and at least one Championship club are in for the pride of Wisconsin, but he also has seen a few bids submitted from the continent. While MLS clubs would likely love to snare the center back, a move home doesn't appear in the cards just yet.
The Impending Free Agents
Jonathan Bornstein - The Chivas USA star will run out of contract at season's end and three Mexican clubs have already been courting him. Atlante is the one known suitor and they have talked with the Goats, but his agent told MLSsoccer.com that they are not necessarily the front runner. It's not clear whether Bornstein would move below the border, so he could remain with Chivas USA or patiently wait for a European destination. He does have a few fans in places like Belgium and his World Cup showing was decent enough to attract new interest at his price.
Robbie Findley - The Real Salt Lake speedster also goes free in December and it's unclear what he will do. The MLS Cup holders are obviously eager to retain his services, having already turned up their noses to overseas offers. Danish power Brøndby are not one of those teams to have a bid shot down out of hand. Findley did well on trial there last winter, but they have other targets for now. He may not have done enough in South Africa to raise new interest, but he played to a level that won't scare off any of his other previous Scandinavian suitors. However, most teams up there may not be able to meet the inflated cost of landing him. There's also been a small rumbling in France. Of course, he may end up deciding to re-sign with RSL.
Clarence Goodson - Like the prior pair, Goodson is headed for free agency in December. His IK Start performances have won him many fans in Scandinavia and a few on the continent, including a recently promoted Bundesliga side, so the fact that he didn't get a game in South Africa really doesn't matter much. The club would love to keep him, but that seems unlikely. Thus, the question is: Do Start sell him now or let him walk free after the season?
The Hot Topics
Jozy Altidore - We've already outed a few of the clubs that watched him in person at World Cup, and now can add that at least one Turkish topper was there as well. He also has suitors in England, the Netherlands, Scotland and Spain. Altidore's play in South Africa was reminiscent of his best days on loan with Hull City: bullish industry and a lack of goals. Still, at 20, it was surely enough to get technical staff pulses racing. His agent confirmed that Altidore has both loan and transfer offers, but it remains unclear what Villarreal intend to do with him. Some Spanish reports say he is on the market, while others claim the Yellow Submarine are eager to get him back onboard.
Michael Bradley - Though there hadn't been any recent rumblings around the Borussia Mönchengladbach man, his outstanding World Cup showings may just have stirred some. The midfielder has two years left on his Foals deal, so 'Gladbach could decide to go for the cash if someone presents an appetizing figure. The club stated publicly on Sunday that they have talks with Bradley planned for this week, which all but surely means that bigger clubs are knocking at the door. From which clubs remains to be seen, but the US #4’s performances in South Africa certainly didn’t turn off earlier suitors like Birmingham City, Everton, Hamburg and West Ham.
Landon Donovan - After his strong World Cup display, it's beyond obvious that Everton will try to bring him back. The problem for David Moyes is that others with deeper pockets may hijack the move. Both Chelsea and Manchester City have been mentioned as suitors in the UK tabloid press, and each side is indeed looking for a right-sided midfielder and have seen what the American can do close up. With the Galaxy linked to moves for a bold-faced South American name, are LA planning for LD’s departure?
The Sought After
Carlos Bocanegra - The US skipper has interest from clubs in Turkey, and Ligue 1’s Saint-Étienne may still have their crush. Rennes have already waved goodbye to half their starting backline this summer, so they may not be overly determined to see him go. However, Bocanegra is entering the final year of his contract and he would surely be sold for the right offer.
Edson Buddle - The LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is up at the end of this year, has been linked with a Fulham offer in the English press, which as usual overlooks important facts. There's no way Buddle could get a UK work permit straightaway and his minor World Cup involvement may not be enough to get him one on appeal. He does have a bit of interest in Europe, though it remains to be seen how serious it is.
Benny Feilhaber - He had mild interest from Israel, Turkey and from a longtime admirer in Spain before the World Cup, but his impressive outings in South Africa may have driven up his market value somewhat. Feilhaber is also a year from free agency, so Aarhus GF will let him go for a decent fee.