Have you seen TSG’s interview with Stu Holden earlier this year?
If not, definitely check it out.
For those who have been Christmas shopping, rumors are swirling that the MLS is going to the most extreme lengths to retain Stu Holden with further rumors suggesting that Holden has been offered a salary “bump” or more than 10x on his current wages, resulting in about $350 annually. This information appeared in Scotland’s premier rag however.
Let’s use this space today to consider the contrarian arguments for Stu Holden to remain in Dynamo orange to initiate the commentary and dialogue. Four positive points arise.
(First, a caveat in that we’ll assume that Stu can negotiate a one-year deal, or two max, with the MLS. Big caveat.)
√ First, Mr. Holden pockets a new paycheck.
Everyone reading this column is now wondering how I did on the math SATs.
While Holden can earn a significant chunk of peanuts in the MLS, he can virtually buy the whole peanut farm if he ships out.
Why, then, does an MLS paycheck matter? For further leverage in negotiations overseas.
Right now Holden is coming from a position where he made slightly more (or less in some cases) than a starting journalist who does fact checking all day. If he’s considering negotiating abroad, he can’t very well say, “Well, I like your offer, but it’s not a huge premium on what I’m making now….” because it is. Pocketing an MLS paycheck at the rate rumored only enhances Holden’s leverage in a contract situation and gives him an out (next year) if he doesn’t like how negotiations are going with a prospective club.
√ World Cup 2010 Pitch Time
Holden is on record as saying inclusion and participation in the USMNT squad weighs heavily on both him and on this specific decision.
One of the larger factors facing the Iceman immediately overseas, is playing time. Will he walk right into a line-up or will he be relegated to the bench? Is there a predisposition to play locals?
Looking at Glasgow Rangers–one club he’s linked with–they’ve got Steve Davis, a former Villa young player of the year, on the right flank and a bevy of other players in the middle including the returning Maurice Edu. Rangers are also top of the table–would they risk upset their starting team balance?
Does Stu step in as an immediate starter there? Likely not. Maybe he gets there quickly, but at the very least it’s still an unknown.
If Stu stays MLS, he’s assured of both playing time and his captaincy. Further Holden in States leaves him available for critical friendlies whereas making his mark overseas he might not have that luxury of coming back for one (like in February against World Cup caliber Mexico) or there could be some tension around making that trip from his new club.
√ World Cup 2010 Exposure
This is probably the biggest positive.
Assuming Stu solves 2a above, exposure in South Africa (and a positive performance) is sure to have other clubs stand up and take interest in securing his services. Right now, there is handful of clubs that are looking at Holden as the solution to their problem. However, hocking his wares on the world stage come next June? Well, pretty much everyone is going to be watching.
Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley certainly drew more collective interest after their Cup performances, in 2006 and 2002 respectively, with a good performance Holden is sure to as well.
√ The Face of the MLS (smaller point)
Is Landon’s forthcoming loan announcement going to turn out to be permanent? Who knows…but the MLS needs a new “face.” Someone who is recognizable as the league. While this point pales greatly in comparison to the aforementioned, it once again give Holden some leverage, but also makes him even more recognizable around the globe.
Stu Holden can clearly make more money and face better competition overseas. If World Cup 2010 wasn’t occurring, I think Stu’s decision would be an easier one. By the staying at least for a year in the MLS, Stu could potentially open up a whole host of new suitors by his play on the world stage come next June. I think that is really the crux of the decision here.
Should Stu go? In this writer’s mind, only if the new club he’s donning his boots for is a good mid to long term option for him and has been thoroughly vetted. I’m not so certain that Scotish league (another op-ed…this on Scottish football) generally and the Rangers specifically are a good fit for him. It seems that many players are disillusioned with their playing time (DaMarcus Beasley, Neil Alexander), there are murmurs of the club being in financial trouble.
A prospective piece of news going around the grapevine this year is that Celtic and Rangers were attempting to join the Premiership, only for EPL heavies to shoot that down.
Mid-table Aberdeen, the other rumored club, is perhaps a better fit for Holden, however that side barely has a shot at the Europa Cup.
Should Stu stay? In this writer’s mind, only if it’s a one year deal that allows him the utmost flexibility at the end of calendar year 2010.
If TSG were Stu? Well, if we were convinced the opportunity overseas was the right one for the next 3-5 years, then we’d have to pack our bags.