Well, Chelsea slept on Blackburn…told them Blues not to do that.
We’ll have an Altidore update up as soon as we get a confirmed one.
Commentor GeorgeCross brought up the following question in a post last week:
“I am going to throw this one out there regarding Altidore. What about Arsenal? Wenger has been rumoured to be interested in Cole and Balotelli – why not Altidore? Fair enough that Altidore needs to be polished, but who better than master rock tumbler Wenger, who has a remarkable track record with young unfinished and raw players. He might not get as much playing time, but technically he has to improve (otherwise he won’t get into the first XI).”
A decent match there GeorgeCross and it got TSG into a column we’ve been meaning to pen for a while. We’ve already looked at the best mentors (Look for Part II in the next month) for a selection of USMNTers, but how about the best team to play on, from a playing time perspective as well as a mentoring perspective.
In fact those are two of the criteria, along with a third, playing style, that we considered when making some of these selections below. Caveat: TSG’s normally objective look at Americans may have been a wee compromised in this column.
Jozy Altidore: Aston Villa
Pretty close for Jozy on Arsenal, but not as close as Villa. For Jozy at Arsenal, there are few challenges. First, Robin Van Persie is the show’s lead and Nicolas Bendtner it would appear is beginning to fulfill the promise that had Wenger plucking the then 16-year-old from F.C. Copenhagen way back in 2004. (Bendtner is now rumored to be a candidate for the front line at Bayern.) Plus Arsenal have up-and-coming England nattie in waiting (and 190lbs) Jay Simpson (on load at Queens Park Rangers) waiting in the wings.
Second challenge for Jozy–his first touch. With Arsenal employing a quick touch brand of football and accentuating player movement may not play to Jozy’s strengths.
For Villa, it’s a question of replacement and pairing.
In Emile Heskey and John Carew, Villa have a 32 year-old and a 31-year-old in the target or big striker role. Both, along with third stringer Maron Harewood (on-loan and 31) have battled countless injuries over the past year.
Altidore, who was healthy until Friday’s unexplained injury, is the direct opposite, younger and less (cough) injury prone.
Additionally, Altidore would slip in quite nicely next to the zippy Gaby Agbonlahor up top. Agbonlahor, on the edge or a World Cup bid this year for England at the age of 23, is, in comparison to Charlie Davies, a few notches faster and just hair below in strength–a fine complement for the former Red Bull frontman.
Next, with two Americans (Friedel and Guzan) on their senior and a third (Eric Lichaj) likely coming, Aston Villa (with American owner Randy Lerner) would vie for mass public support from the Americans. Finally, and due to Lerner, Aston Villa is a well-run team that should be able to pay Villarreal’s transfer price request ($5M?)
Landon Donovan: Everton*
It’s hard to argue that Landon Donovan didn’t just trial on the perfect team for him to transfer too. Everton sits just below the top four in the EPL, removing Lanverton from an unworldly amount of scrutiny when he nestled in during the winter.
In terms of Everton’s game and Donovan’s ability to recognize what is needed, the Galaxy man presented the perfect complement to improve Moyes’ offense.
That being said, can Everton afford the transfer fee for the California resident who recently?
Chelsea rumors abounded as well as opinion that Donovan was perhaps better suited for the Iberian peninsula (where no American has ever truly suceeded yet…Ante Razov 2nd division stint at Racing Ferrol being probably the best in the last twenty).
But Donovan doesn’t seem to be the guy who wants to stray too far from what makes him comfortable. It appears he wants to fit in, do his job, and call it a day. So, in the event that Everton can’t ante up the green, other Donovan prospects might be Arsenal red where Donovan could be an outside forward just like at Goodison and be in heavy rotation with Arshavin, Walcott and Nasri. Only drawback? Wenger usually buys low, not high.
Michael Bradley: AC Milan
Outside of Bo’Munchen where could Mike Bradley go to prosper, thrive and contribute.
TSG looks at Bradley and we see an upgrade over shaky post-Arsenal man Mathieu Flamini who, despite below average form, has still featured in 19 games for Milan on the year.
Bradley, should the transfer cost not be prohibitive for the Rossoneri who have battled some budget issues (see Onyewu, Oguchi), would slot in nicely next to Pirlo (or whomever his successor is) and also provide, again, youth as Clarence Seedorf ages and the classy Gennaro Gatusso likely heads to pasture after this year. Further, learning from a midfield ace like Milan coach Leonardo–assuming he’s still around–priceless.
Buddy up Gooch, Junior may arrive.
Jay DeMerit: Tottenham
Jay DeMerit’s future is lining up. A fairytale rise from young freelancer to possibly starting back against the United Lions of England on June 12th.
The 31-year-old DeMerit is also playing out his contract this year in one of two positions (centerback and goalie) where longevity and experience are more valuable than youth.
We’re going to be excited to see DeMerit hopefully “get his.”
But where? We say throw him under the employs of Harry Rednapp down London way? Tottenham’s got a bunch of quality center backs, named Sebastian Bassong, Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King.
However you might argue injuries have no relegated Woodgate and King to liabilities rather than assets. Plug in DeMerit for a year or two next to the hulking Bassong, send Michael Dawson back to the bench where he belongs, and keep the seat warm until 21-year-old French star in waiting Dorian Dervitte (remember that name) is ready.
Omar Gonzalez: Everton
Another central backer on the list
How humorous would it be if the Toffees raided the Galaxy of arguably–with the Beckham injury–the two of their best players. We mentioned Gonzalez in our March Boarding post.
I honestly can’t think of a better fit on this list. Everton, since the departure of a motivated Joleon Lescott, have lacked for his direct replacement this year. Someone strong in the middle who can score with their dome.
Enter the 21-year-old Gonzalez, perhaps the best U-23 prospect in the States (perhaps), certainly on the back line.
But him in front of steady Tim Howard who at 35-years-old in 2014 might just still be the US lead goalkeeper pending his form.
A centerback rotation of 31-year-old Sylvan Distin, 29-year old Nigerian Joseph Yobo, and 21-year-old American Omar Gonzalez.
Yes I think that works.
Maurice Edu: Chelsea
How Maurice Edu has not started a game in midfield for the Rangers after “the” critical goal of their season is beyond me. I must pass on further review as I haven’t witnessed many Rangers game minutes this year. However, it does have me wondering if the Ibrox crew just wanted an athletic youngster who was cheap to come in given their widely stated financial issues.
So sell Edu.
If I’m Chelsea I abandon my horrible John Obi Mikel experiment–how vulnerable have Chelsea looked defensively in Michael Essien’s absence? Obi Mikel, who’s one-on-one defending is highly suspect never met an errant pass he didn’t like.
Let’s bring in Edu who can flat-out cover ground and have him learn from the best in the business…oops, the USMNT fan in me just came out.
Still, I think it makes sense (at least for this column).