Update 03/15, originally published 10/25/09.
Below a list of 10 National Team trades that TSG proposed back on October 25th 2009. Today, we grade ourselves on those trades in the spirit of gaining material from you, the community, on our forthcoming follow-up piece, “Ten More National Team Trades We’d Like To See.”
Please start adding your own trades or comments on ours….we’ll have another piece out within the month.
TSG’s overall grade: C-
Trade below that would still be of value: 2, 6 and maybe 7
Virtually every other sport gives us the thrill of a team getting better (or gaining hope) by swapping players with another. The national team scene will obviously never give us that. But sometimes when I’m looking at teams I see a piece (read: player) that would just fit better somewhere else, independent of nationality.
So in that vain, here are 10 hypothetical trades that we’d like to “entertain” in advance of World Cup 2010.
We didn’t put much criteria together for this one in the guise of having a little fun. Only the following guidelines:
» You have to offer quality to get quality back. No one is trading Ricardo Clark for Fernando Torres–even if you may be able to somehow do it on FIFA 10.
» Try to focus primarily on success in 2010. Looking forward–say trading Miroslav Klose from Germany because Mesut Ozil is on the fringe of stardom–really doesn’t help Germany in South Africa.
» Finally, don’t cripple a team at one position just to solve another–Wayne Rooney is not going to Italy for Gianluigi Buffon. We have a single exception below that we think makes some sense.
So take a look below and tell us what you think. Rank the trades in the comment section and please offer your own. We’re sure to receive some praise and quite a bit of criticism.
1. • USA trades Clint Dempsey to England for Jermain Defoe
Summary: This trade just makes too much sense. With Fabio Capello’s praising of Villa’s Emile Heskey and looking to pair the hulking target man
with Wayne Rooney running off him, Capello’s squad has little room and use for Jermain Defoe on the starting squad. In fact, Defoe has been out of favor for Capello’s most recent squads as the England skipper has looked to Carlton Cole and even Peter Crouch more frequently in second half substitution. Finally, with Shaun Wright Phillips (and even perhaps Theo Walcott) in the mix Defoe is redundant; he won’t be missed.
The Deuce’s record on the pitch for the US speaks for itself. He scores goals. He also can inhabit a position that has been challenging for years to say the least for the Three Lions, left wing. Stuart Downing is not fit and floating Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard out there clearly has not worked. While Ashley Young presents a very viable option, he needs to be more consistent and less ding prone to really own the position.
Enter Dempsey, a perfect compliment to the team who is strong in the air for Beckham’s and Johnson’s right flank crosses and able to run on from the weak side while Lampard and Lennon are attacking for the Queen.
With Defoe in the mix, the US has solved the incredible hole created with Charlie Davie’s accident. Defoe, after bulking up this year, possesses the same gifts as CD9 and would slot in nicely as a veteran next to Jozy. The USMNT still has Paco Torres and Benny! to back up on the wing half positions.
How do we make this happen?
Update: March 15th, 2010
England: B -
United States: A
The skinny: Wow, this one would have really helped the United States out had they completed it. No need to re-review the USMNT speedy striker issues.
On England’s side, with David Beckham now out, Dempsey as a wing addition is nice-to-have, but as we saw with Theo Walcott’s surprising start for England (over Stuart Downing and others) against Egypt, Capello really wants to go with a speed option to bookend Steven Gerrard. Need for Dempsey…not as acute now.
2. • England trades Steven Gerrard and Ben Foster to Italy for Federico Marchetti and Gennaro Gattuso
Summary: It’s no secret that Three Lions need both direction and play from their keeper position. It’s also no secret that Steven Gerrard has never approached the type of form (top 10 player in the world) for his national team that he’s shown for the Reds.
With that, he’s expendable, but still a highly sought-after asset. The USMNT could pry him loose, but it would take a Donovan or more likely Howard and it’s not worth that cost to the fabric of the States even with Gerrard’s field presence, free kicks and vision.
So England looks continental and sends him over to Italy in exchange for up-and-coming net minder Federico Marchetti of Caliguiri. Rooted to the bench by world class Gianluigi Buffon in front of him in 2010 and maybe beyond, he’s expendable at least in the short term for Italy, yet tested in a top league. Marchetii would be the clear #1 for England for a long time.
Gattuso, a coach on the field, gives Italian Fabio Capello the “non-boy’s club” locker room leader than can continue to reinforce his discipline.
Ben Foster–he of the questionable form for Man United this campaign and rounds of boos–gets a fresh start in the land of olive oil.
Italy is getting long in the tooth in the midfield and while Pirlo is still quite an excellent player and ball striker (did you see his goal against Real Madrid in Champion’s League action last week?) they could plug in a Gerrard immediately to the midfield and still play their stout defense with Gerrard’s aggressive yet cautious offensive tactics.
A note here if Gerrard ever approached the form he exhibits for Liverpool, this would be a steal for Italy–however Stevie’s never done it.
Update: March 15th, 2010
The skinny: Italy get a C- for this one, only because Gianluigi Buffon has been sidelined. Alas, Buffon is due back in March. In his absence, Marchetti kept Cameroon at bay in the latest friendly for Italy on March 3rd; he’s the real deal.
Continually, you’re telling me the Azurri couldn’t swap out a deteriorating Andrea Pirlo with Steven Gerrard who would slot in there nicely?
On England’s side, James Milner has continued his development and there are multiple options in the absence of Steven Gerrard who continues to underwhelm on the senior side. I still do this deal if I’m England….and maybe Italy.
3. • Wales trade Craig Bellamy to Russia for a bottle of cheap vodka and a sack of perogies.
Summary: Bellamy spurned the Welsh team earlier this year; now they spurn him and banish him to the cold for whatever they can get.
The skinny: Wales still wins this one.
4. • USA trades Brad Guzan and Jonathan Bornstein to Honduras for Maynor Figueroa and Carlos Pavon.
Summary: Based upon recent actions alone, this one gets done. Bornstein–loved in Honduras right now–commands a high value; conversely
the elder statesman Pavon missed the kick that sealed the bid that Bornstein made certain. Honduran net minder Noah Valladeras has looked shaky at best for the La H.
Guzan, though not getting a ton of minutes for the USMNT or Aston Villa is a known commodity as a strong keeper. Should he stay on the US squad, he’ll be the likely heir apparent to Tim Howard. That being said, the USMNT has got Timmy in the middle, capable back-ups in Troy Perkins and Marcus Hahnemann and a whole slew of upcoming keepers. In other words, there is depth to deal from. Given the current US player pool, we’re prepared to take the Big T or bust risk.
Figueroa is the key to the deal for the USMNT obviously. While that might be a steep price for Honduras, Figueroa like Deuce has played much better for club than country and got toasted a few times against the U.S.
The Maynor slots right in at the starting left back position and provides cover for Carlos Bocanegra inside of him.
In Pavon, the USMNT get a back-up striker (if the Defoe deal gets done).
Let’s throw it out there and see what happens.
Update: March 15th, 2010
United States: A
The skinny: Wow, this likely would have been a steal for the United States. Since the Costa Rica game, Jonathan Bornstein’s trade value has risen and fallen…and most recently fallen. Similarly, with Brad Guzan getting as much pitch time for the USMNT lately as Herculez Gomez his value has fallen.
For Honduras, Maynor Figueroa still disappoints, but the goods in return are probably not worth his quality now.
5. • Italy trades Giorgio Chiellini to Brazil for Diego
Summary: Let’s be honest the 29-year-old Iaquitina and the 33-year-old Di Natale really don’t offer Italy a lot of horsepower up on the top of the pitch. Even Gilardinho in relief is not the answer. American Benedict Giuseppi Rossi is about the only consistent striker the Azurri have going. Italy need some striking power and 24-year-old Diego is one of TSG’s favorite technical players and he also plays for Juventus. Perfect fit.
Brazil, well they really don’t need much as they are positioned well for Cup title run in 2010 however what they could do is provide some youth in central defense to learn from Lucio this Cup series. Enter Giorgio Chiellini, Diego’s Juventus brother. Italy is covered in the middle with Nicola Legrottaglie and Fabio Cannavaro, not to mention emerging youngster Alessandro Gamberini.
In a pinch, they always can bring back in Nesta.
Update: March 15th, 2010
The skinny: Chiellini has been a younger version of Nesta this year for Italy. Even with Diego’s quality–and Diego is having a tough second half of his club season–Italy would have rued this one.
6. • Sweden trade Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Argentina for Sergio Aguero or Gonzalo Higuain and Luciano Monzon.
Summary: Sweden is a mess. It’s a travesty that the globe will not get to see Barcelona super striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ply his trade in the World
Cup 2010 now that Sweden missed out on qualification. The Swedes boast Ibrahimovic and that’s really about all as the national team has truly failed to develop talent the past years.
So the Swedes send the 28-year-old SuperZlatan to Argentina where he can pair with his Barcelona strike mate Lionel Messi. In return the nordic country gets to to re-stock it’s farm system. Heading across the equator are 22-year-old Boca Juniors defender Luciano Monzon and Maradona’s option of Aguero or Higuain; whoever is out of favor with the Hand of God this week. Aguero, of course, is blasting onto radar charts at Atletico Madrid after being the youngest player ever in the Argentine top league; while Higuain plies his trade now at Real Madrid. Both Aguera and Higuain are younger than 23.
Update: March 15th, 2010
The skinny: I still love this trade for both sides; even more so now. Argentina gets a striker who is starting to develop a nice chemistry with Lionel Messi. He’s seasoned and provides the height lacking up top for Maradona’s crew.
If I’m Sweden, I take Gonzalo Higuain (yes TSG was on that Eurotrain bandwagon way back when). Higuain has never been *the man* both at Real where his partnership with Ronaldo is under question and at home with Messi around. Would being the man in Scandinavia improve his output? I think so.
7. • Mexico trade Carlos Vela to Portugal for Nani
Summary: Cristiano Ronaldo needs help and it’s not coming in the former of fellow strikers Nuno Gomes (33 years old) and the 31-year-old Liedson. Enter Carlos Vela from Mexico perhaps the perfect compliment to Ronaldo for his speed, strength on the ball and creativity. With Vela at the top and Ronaldo right behind him, defenses would be petrified at that 1-2 punch.
However, it’s not like Vela is redundant on the Mexican team — he’s a part-time starter and spark plug. You have to give up quality to get quality and after much debate Portugal departs with midfielder Nani. Nani is a starter and nearly as dynamic as the senior Ronaldo, but he’s also always been just complementary.
Nani gives Mexico the dominant, coast-to-coast midfielder to balance their linking and tackling midfielders.
Is it a good trade? Only time will tell.
Update: March 15th, 2010
The skinny: Even with Nani’s current form, this deal is a winner for Portugal. They simply miss too many chances in front of the net. In their latest friendly against China they missed countless chances.
For Mexico, their midfield with the addition of Jonathan Dos Santos–the younger brother of Gio Dos Santos is 19 and has already featured for Barcelona’s senior side–has improved but Nani would certainly be an upgrade over Torrado and Guardado. Worthy of giving up super-sub Vela…hmm….might not be worth tinkering.
8. • The Netherlands trade Clarence Seedorf to the United States for Conor Casey and Brek Shea
Summary: Really?! Yes really. This helps both teams. But how?
It’s simple. Van Persie, Robben, Kuyt, Babel, Van Nistelroy; not one target man for the Dutch. Not one bruising forward who can mix it. The U.S. will supply them with two types of target man Conor Casey and Brek Shea. The former a knock around guy, the latter a tall possession monger. Will either ever see the pitch at World Cup 2010, probably not, but it doesn’t present a different look for the The Netherlands.
We are certain that Clarence Seedorf won’t see the pitch in RSA without a trade. The 33-year-old central midfielder is in such a dicey 2-year spat with Dutch coach Marco Van Basten that not even Bill Clinton could broker a peace. No matter for the Dutch as they have the capable midfield play of Rafael Van Der Vaart and Wesley Sniejder. For veteran experience in Seedorf’s stead,Van Basten can turn to Nigel De Jong or even Munich’s Mark Van Bommel.
Seedorf would slot right in to one of Coach B’s positions in the middle of the midfield in the 4-4-2. A phenomenal possession player and technician, Seedorf still plays stellar defense and cannot be knocked off the ball. Just what the American’s ordered. Alas at 33, we’ve got one year for the big guy–only Shea has any shot of practicing beyond 2010 for the Dutch. In Casey’s absence, Coach B brings a renewed Kenny Cooper to South Africa.
The Dutch are getting something for nothing.
Let it be said here if one of our TSG readers can come up with a fair trade for Liverpool-Dutch national Dirk Kuyt, we’d be all ears. Kuyt, in our opinion, is one of the most underrated players in the EPL.
The skinny: This trade is a terrible one….for the Netherlands.
• France trade Lassana Diara, Eric Abidal, Thierry Henry to the Ivory Coast for Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure
Summary: Wow, a blockbuster. Yup and it makes sense (in fantasy World Cup world). This one is all about chemistry.
Henry has never fulfilled his potential on the national team and has repeatedly criticized French coach Raymond Domenech (who hasn’t really?). Additionally, you’ve got Benzema just waiting for his number to be called.
Barcelona defender Abidal is strong, and nearly the equivalent of Toure
Drogba gets to pair with his Chelsea strike partner Nicolas Anelka up top for Les Bleus.
Toure goes back to working with his his former Arsenal central defense
And Diarra, the Real Madrid holding midfielder is currently the second choice to Jeremy Toulalan (I’m a big fan of Toulalan) in the primary holding midfielder role. In a two holding set, France can always bring in Alou Diarra.
Lassana Diara just balances the trade out. I like this one.
Update: March 15th, 2010
Ivory Coast: D
The skinny: Interesting one to grade here. I think both teams would get A’s for this one, if Didier Drogba didn’t return to World Class form AND if Eric Abidal didn’t get injured. Assuming those two things didn’t come to fruition, not a bad trade in our mind.
Gervinho and Henry up top for Ivory Coast be enough firepower? Likely.
Ivory Coast benefiting in the spine of their defense from Abidal over the declining Toure? Yup
Henry benefiting from a change of scenery? Yes.
All this being said, a world class Drogba and that Abidal injury would make this one crippling for Les Elephants.
• England trades David Beckham to the United States for Tom Cruise and Eric Wynalda
Let’s just go with this one. Beckham has a chance to get the MLS and American public on his side. Los Angeles rids itself of two press hungry former stars.
The skinny: Hollywood takes Beckham here…big win for Los Angeles.