Transfer Window Analysis

10 Americans in Europe Who May Move in January

Nobody knows the Americans abroad scene better than Brian Sciaretta, so we asked him to name 10 Europe-based Yanks who may be on the move in January's transfer window. Here's what he hold us.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 17, 2012
5:24 AM
The January transfer window is once again upon us and it is shaping up to be a rather busy window for Americans. I think there is going to be a lot of activity because several Americans have had impressive years in 2012 and their value is high. Here is my take on what might transpire in the first 20 days of 2013.

Michael Parkhurst
Parkhurst is almost certain to find a new club as his contract with Nordsjaelland has now expired. His time with the small Danish club has been a remarkable success as he was integral part of helping the team win two Danish Cups, a Superliga title, and a berth in the Champions League Group Stages. As the 28-year-old Rhode Island native gradually made the transition from central defense to right back, he has become one of the best defenders in the Superliga and should not have any problem finding a bigger club. His Irish passport will further help open more doors as there won't be any restrictions into any of the big four leagues—which is where I believe he will end up.

Sacha Kljestan
Like Parkhurst, Kljestan's move from Major League Soccer has been an incredible success. Kljestan has become a regular starter in central midfield for Belgian powerhouse Anderlecht, he has re-established himself in the U.S. national team picture, and he has gotten to play alongside Argentine international Lucas Biglia. There are both good and bad reasons for Kljestan to make a move. The bad is obviously that he would have to leave a good situation where he regularly starts for a very good European club. The good? he has achieved most of what is possible at Anderlecht. Last season he won a Belgian title and this past fall he played in the Champions League. The 27 year old has proven he can play at a high level and his value may never be higher.

Conor O'Brien
Despite never having suited up for a United States youth national team, O'Brien has done well wherever he has gone. Before moving to Europe, his youth club teams and his NCAA team, Bucknell, all enjoyed unprecedented success with O'Brien onboard. In Europe, O'Brien has continued that trend as he helped lower-league Danish Club Blokhus to promotion in 2010/11 and most recently has been a consistently solid performer in the Superliga with Sonderjyske. His ability to create plays from his deep-lying central midfield position as well as play solid defense make him one of the better midfielders in Denmark. Now 24, O'Brien has proven that he is ready for a move to a club bigger than Sonderjyske, which has among the smallest wage budgets in the Superliga. The most likely places for him to land would be to a top-tier Belgian club or perhaps a contending Superliga team.

Eric Lichaj
It's been a rocky year for Lichaj. Aston Villa have fallen on hard times and are sitting just above the relegation zone. The club's manager, Paul Lambert, has been more willing to use Lichaj in recent weeks but he is not yet an automatic starter. His performances so far in the Premier League have been mixed—ranging from solid to mediocre. Aston Villa is not an ideal situation right now for a player looking for establish himself in the Premier League. There are worse clubs, for sure, but none are underachieving at Villa's level. Lichaj, 24, is in the last year of his contract with Villa so he is holding the cards and it begs the question, Why would he want to come back? A move this January is likely and the Illinois native could have offers from other Premier League clubs waiting for him in 2013.

Mikkel Diskeurd
Diskerud is at a crossroads. His loan to Gent in Belgium at the beginning of 2012 did not go very well, as he struggled for playing time. His move back to Rosenborg was a success as he played well and his club came up just short of the Norwegian title. It also gave him the chance to play in the Europa League. Rosenborg are eager to ink the Norwegian-born American to another deal and that does remain a possibility. But Diskerud will have more options to consider, and he should think hard about his next move. He clearly has outgrown the Norwegian league, having won the title with Stabaek when he was just 18. Should he make the decision to leave the familiar surroundings of Norway, he could find himself back on the continent, probably around the level of the Eredivisie or maybe even back in Belgium.

Alejandro Bedoya
When Bedoya made the decision to return to Sweden after a tumultuous year at Rangers, it was just what the doctor ordered. He joined a winning club that played an attacking style that fit Bedoya's strengths as a player. Helsingborg will want to sign Bedoya to an extension but Bedoya will probably move on. Elfsborg are reportedly interested but it seems logical that he will want to leave Sweden for good. The Eredivisie would fit Bedoya well but since he does not have an EU passport, it will be tough since the minimum salary non-EU players must be paid in the Netherlands make Bedoya an expensive option. The best scenario for Bedoya seems him move to a top team in Belgium, Denmark, or somewhere on the continent outside of the big four leagues of Italy, England, Germany, or Spain.

Steve Clark
Honefoss owe Clark are huge debt of gratitude. If not for their American goalkeeper, they would have been relegated out of the Tippeligaen last year. Clark was widely considered to be the best goalkeeper in Norway last year and his remarkable athleticism and quickness helped the team repeatedly. He still has one more year left on his contract but Honefoss can probably get decent value with a sale. It would make sense for Clark to want to move on as well because his reputation is very high right now and Honefoss may not be able to escape relegation next year no matter how well he plays. Clark has not been a starting goalkeeper for very long so a move to a big league is unlikely. It would seem that he could be an attractive option for a top team in Scandinavia either in Norway or Sweden.

Bryan Gerzicich
Gerzicich is now 28 years old and it would seem that a move is coming for the Los Angeles-born defensive midfielder. He has the reputation as one of the best midfielders in the Israeli Premier League but his club, Kiryat Shmona, is very small and does not have deep pockets. He has already won a Premier League title and has played in the Europa League. At his age, Gerzicich should think about finding the highest-paying move possible. The most likely destination would seem to be one of the bigger Israeli clubs like Maccabi Haifa or Maccabi Tel Aviv. It also wouldn't be surprising to see a team from a mid-tier continental European league show interest. A longer shot, however, would be a return to the Argentine Primera where he began his career.

Sebastian Lletget
Lletget has been with West Ham for a while now, and he has gradually moved up the team's depth chart while dealing with injuries and a serious bout of mononucleosis, which caused him to miss nearly an entire season. West Ham United's U-21 team in the brand new U-21 Premier League is the best in England and Lletget is a consistent player for them. On November 28, the San Francisco native even made the bench for the first team in a league game against Manchester United. In December and January, Premier League teams play a lot games and Lletget will provide depth. But it would seem that a loan to a lower-level English club could be in the cards for Lletget—if only to give him some first-team minutes. He is only 20 years old and West Ham do see a future with him. Breaking into the first team of a midtable Premier League team on a regular basis would be tough at this stage but a loan would be beneficial to everyone.

Terrence Boyd
Last summer Boyd made the move to Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga, and he has done will in his first half of a season. The problem with the move is that the Austrian Bundesliga is poor and European play has proved this. Defending champion Red Bull Salzburg were eliminated from the Champions League by a semipro team from Luxembourg in the preliminary rounds, and Rapid Vienna finished with one win and five losses in the Europa League group stages. The only thing that the move to Rapid Vienna proved is that Boyd is not good enough for Borussia Dortmund but he is too good for the Austrian Bundesliga. That's a gap as big as the Pacific Ocean. It is unlikely that he moves in January but he is ready. I think that he should move as soon as he can—to a league that challenges him. The 2.Bundesliga seems to make the most sense but if he continues to play well the rest of the season, the Bundesliga could be a possibility.

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