Long MLS Break Creates Rumors, Opportunities
Graham Zusi and Juan Agudelo to West Ham? Omar Gonzalez to QPR? And what's this we hear about C.J. Sapong catching the eye of a certain London-based Premier League club? Yes, it's Silly Season in America.
BY Matt Thacker PostedMajor League Soccer’s long winter break has its critics, but one advantage has been the opportunity for young players to head abroad for training at some of the best clubs in Europe. Each year, it seems more players are able to take advantage of the opportunity to invaluable gain experience. More than 20 MLS players have been training this off-season in England, Germany, Scotland, Spain, and Turkey. Of course, gaining experience is only part of the story. The players are also being observed as potential transfer candidates for now or in the future. Several Americans have been linked to permanent moves. Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi and Chivas USA’s Juan Agudelo are both training at West Ham with reports in the UK claiming Zusi is on trial and looking to earn a spot on the club. With several years remaining on his contract, Sporting KC would likely demand a hefty transfer fee for Zusi. In November, Agudelo trained with Celtic and gushed about the club, but Chivas USA moved quickly to deny the 20-year-old forward is for sale. Omar Gonzalez, who was injured last year while training with 1. FC Nuremberg, could be next in line to head overseas. According to ESPN’s Adrian Healey, QPR manager Harry Redknapp told then-Toronto FC coach Paul Mariner that he might need a new defender soon and asked him about Gonzalez. Of course, the great irony was that Mariner was fired this week and replaced by QPR defender Ryan Nelsen. At this point, it’s unclear when Nelsen will be able to leave QPR. If he exits prior to the start of the MLS season, could Gonzalez be Nelsen’s replacement? One of the more unexpected rumors of the season involved Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong. The Football Magazine claimed Arsenal was considering a move for the 24-year-old former Rookie of the Year. The publication even claimed the sides had agreed to a fee of nearly $5 million. The report was met with disbelief, and there is the issue of a work permit since Sapong only has two national team caps. However, Arsenal heavily scouts North America and could swoop in for the right player.
January 10, 2013
January 10, 2013