Here’s A Follow-Up: Who For The Top Four?

As TSG ponders club ball destinations for a series of players, here’ an addendum.

Dempsey: Rolling for Fulham

Which USMNT player is primed to be the next one at the EPL’s perennial top four clubs?

Yes, we realize that–gulp–Claudio Reyna’s former jerseys, the Manchester City Citizens, might very well Tevez their way in to the top four, but let’s talk about the four clubs that really *mean* England football over the past two decades: Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool & Arsenal.

Tim Howard had his spell at Old Trafford, while outfield players Jonathan Spector, Jovan Kirovski, and even Kenny Cooper and Freddy Adu couldn’t stick with.

Over at Arsenal, the latest American to trial was Lee Nyugen!

At Chelsea would a Russian buy an American? Red Dawn is now 25 years in the past…surely that stinging has subsided?

Could the answer be none other than Captain Clutch, Clint Dempsey whose manager is rumored headed to Liverpool soon?

Who do you think? Donovan? Charlie Davies? Jozy Altidore…fun thoughts here.

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38 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/22 at 10:09 AM

    Sorry Matthew, but two decades and you include Cheslea? You’re having a laugh! Pre-2003, they were a team capable of a mid-table finish and a decent FA Cup run… Please tell Roman that you cannot buy history and tradition!

    Anyway, I think Tim Howard is best placed to break into the top 4. At 31 he is approaching his peak for a ‘keeper, and is a fully fledged international (class) stopper. I know his stint at United was not successful, but I manintain that the step up from NY/NJ to United was too much too soon, not just the EPL but the massive pressure of playing for United, where everything is magnified.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/22 at 10:14 AM

      In my best Bart Simpson

      I will not rush a thought out on a Monday morning.

      I will not rush a thought out on a Monday morning.

      Having read How Soccer Explains the World I should have known better.

      Reply

    • While Chelsea has only been decent in the last decade or so, they are still currently one of the Big 4 in England. Unfortunately Roman’s money has bought them that portion of the status, but it hasn’t bought them any tradition or semblance of class.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Jon C on 2010/03/22 at 10:31 AM

    Weren’t there rumors about Luis Gil going to Arsenal? I bet if he shows something in MLS at a young age he has as good a chance as anyone. I can’t see Howard moving, I just don’t think Moyes will let that happen.

    Reply

  3. I’m going to make a bold prediction and say that if the USA takes a deep run in the World Cup, Dempsey and Donovan will both be big-4 transfers. I can absolutely see Donovan ending up at Chelsea to replace Joe Cole, and I think Dempsey could very well end up at Liverpool or Arsenal.

    Reply

    • that would be so sick

      Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/22 at 11:43 AM

      In today’s press, there is talk about a major overhaul of Chelsea’s ageing players. Not too sure whether Roman would sanction a move for Landon if the rumoured figure of the buyout clause in his MLS contract is correct.

      Nobody has mentioned Holden; I find that strange!

      Reply

      • While he had a great 2009, Holden isn’t a sure USMNT star yet. I mean Eddie Johnson had a great 2004 and look where that got him. I won’t get my hopes up until he has another great year

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/22 at 11:54 AM

          Agreed — though I think most that read this publication understand he has the goods to reach that next level. He needs to show it though.

          If Six Alex would move away from Carrick in the middle with Fletcher behind him, Holden could come in for Carrck….in a few years.

          Stu Holden: Manchester United….he used to root for those guys growing up. Maybe we get the new Ginger Ninja Dax to replace the old one…that’s way way way too aggressive.

          Reply

        • Jeff Larentowicz is the real Ginger Ninja

          Reply

        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/22 at 2:52 PM

          Matt, Holden would be united’s next #7. He did grow up watching united and according to him cantona is his favorite player. I can see it.

          Reply

      • Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/03/22 at 6:27 PM

        Dono was exactly the type of player that Chelsea needed v Blackburn. No width! Dono to Drogba, are you kidding? He’d be mor a replacement fo Anelka than Joey Cole, methinks.

        I’m thinking this one could actually happen. Serious.

        Reply

        • Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/03/22 at 6:42 PM

          Never underestimate the power of a player to impress the manager of the club he decimates.

          Sorry about the quantity of short posts, commenting by iPhone doesn’t allow scrolling on the mobile version of the site.

          Reply

      • I think Holden needs a season to prove himself before he’s quite there. Assuming Burnley stay up I think he’s going to surprise some people next season, though if Burnley do go down I can see him being a very attractive transfer target for a newly promoted club.

        Reply

  4. Posted by Matt B on 2010/03/22 at 11:46 AM

    If he can rediscover his pre-injury form, I can see Charlie Davies at a big club in a year or two. Before the injury, his career path looked very promising. And based on his recovery thus far, his desire and mental strength cannot be questioned.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/22 at 11:51 AM

      Charlies Davies — pre injury — is the perfect player to replace Anelka at Chelsea — can do attitude, ability to make smart runs and push the game, speed.

      Paired with Drogba or the up-and-comer Fabio Borini. Youth situation solved for Chelsea. :>

      Reply

  5. Posted by Marcos on 2010/03/22 at 1:40 PM

    Hey guys this is out of topic but i just wanted to let you know i read an interesting article over at Yanks abroad about a young player making his way up trough zenit st. He was born in modern day ukraine but is a U.S citizen that would welcome a call up from coach sweatpants. Does anyone have more info on this guy?? he seems like hes going places.. whe should defenetly keep an eye on this guy

    Reply

  6. Posted by Bob on 2010/03/22 at 5:19 PM

    Hey, didn’t George and I have this debate two weeks ago? LOL

    It seems that right now LD, Howard, and Dempsey have the best shot. But, both LD and Howard have recently said that they do not want to play for another EPL team but Everton. So I guess that leaves Dempsey.

    I cannot remember whether Ives or Wahl predicted it, but one or both predicted that Sweatpants Jr. will be starting in the EPL in two years. I can see that, but I am not so sure it would be for a top 4 team (but who knows?). I think an interesting player to watch is Bedoya, but like most of our players we are talking years down the road.

    BTW, is it just me or does anyone else miss watching LD play for Everton?

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/22 at 5:56 PM

      If Donovan or Howard had Jerry McGuire as their agent, I am sure they’d be kissing another team’s badge quicker than you could mutter “loadsamoney”.

      Reply

  7. Apropos to nothing, but this video montage of Steven Lenhart is pretty fantastic. http://ow.ly/1pCPE

    Reply

  8. Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/03/22 at 6:35 PM

    I would absolutely hate it if he went to Liverpool, but Dempsey is gonna do the rounds on the rumour mill this summer. That would seem the likeliest destination among the top 4. Steve Nichol and all. I think he would be a good fit for Villa though.

    Bedoya is a person of interest in these matters.

    Reply

  9. Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/03/22 at 6:39 PM

    Holden needs to have Bolten stay up and prove himself for a season, I think.

    I’d like to see Davies move up to a French CL club.

    Maybe that’s a better question – Who will be the next Yank to play in the Champions League knockout stages?

    Reply

    • Resident Liga fan here — why all the EPL love? Surely some players would be better off plying their trade at a top team in another league. I for one will be dropping rediculous sums of money on jersies for the first American to wear Blaugrana.

      How about davies to Lyon? Donovan to Sevilla? Sweatpants Jr to Juve?

      Better yet, who will be the first US born coach to go overseas?

      No time to really answer my own questions but food for thought.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/22 at 7:53 PM

        Patrick — I actually thought of this — as I mentioned above, what Yank has dominated La Liga?

        And I was desperately trying to come up with a fit here, but I think I ran out of time (I wanted to publish this piece today).

        I had Bradley to AC Milan, however I think that an American going to the EPL due to style of play and because it’s American speaking (I mean English speaking) was an easier go in many cases.

        Reply

        • Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/03/22 at 8:15 PM

          Torres to Sevilla!

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        • I think La Liga is just a league that doesn’t fit well with the typical American player. La Liga values creativity, expression, and possession, while Americans are brought up in a system that values team play, hard tackling, strength and hustle. I think players like Torres, who Tuesday mentioned, are really the exception in American soccer.

          There’s definitely a flaw in soccer development in this country that contributes. As a kid who grew up in the typical American soccer system, there is way too much focus on team play at a young age. The kids who show the skills with holding possession and on-ball moves are discouraged from doing so by being called ball hogs and show-offs. I remember being at camp and having coaches from Rangers come in to work with us, and being amazed at how they emphasized the individualistic aspects of the game rather than team play.

          Reply

      • Posted by Hercules on 2010/03/22 at 10:29 PM

        I guess the main reason of all the EPL talk is not only the similarities in styles of play, but the language commonality. Also, there have been American successes in the EPL when there haven’t been many/any in other Top 4 Leagues on the elite teams. While some players in the pool have skills that match skills in other leagues, I think that the EPL is leaps and bounds above the other leagues in acceptance of American talent (even as limited as it is).

        Reply

      • Big Jeezy has a stated ambition to play for Barcelona, can’t remember where I read that. I assume it was here since I don’t read much else anymore.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/23 at 1:04 PM

          Wow — wouldn’t that be interested — replacing or complementing Zlatan at Barca.

          Reply

        • Posted by Hercules on 2010/03/23 at 4:11 PM

          I have heard the same thing. By the age 25? Would definitely be special if it worked out.

          Reply

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