Monday Bullets: Dempsey, Bradley, Holden & More

Some observations for today and from the weekend:

• Silly season:

Sevilla bound?

» Will Deuce Fly the Coop? Sky Sports says La Liga’s Sevilla is interested in US national Clint Dempsey.

» Having his cake and eating it too?

Multiple reports (MLSSoocer.com and Italian dailies) have Michael Bradley headed to Chievo Verona, a mid-table side in Serie A.

(Oh and Chievo is owned by the Paluani cake company…hence the entitled bullet above.)

(See commentary below on Bradley’s agent(s).)

»  Would Eddie Go? (Surfing analogy there) Former almost-MLS man Eddie Johnson rumored to Aberdeen of the SPL. Sounds about right. SPL has trouble attracting talent, but still has more dollars than MLS.

• EPL: Just in time for Bolton?

Stu Holden will get off his arse finally and throw down a match; the first since being splintered by Man United’s Johnny Evans last campaign. Holden will play with the Bolton reserves tomorrow. Oh my how the senior side needs him back.

• EPL: There’s silver in those blowouts

More impressive this weekend? Manchester City’s 5-1 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur rather than their brethren’s 8-2 annihilation of Arsenal. On the defeated:

»In terms of Arsenal, disorganization because of largely not-Premership-talent backline and extremely poor free kick management–among other things–led to their downfall.

The bad for Emirates fans? Wojciech Szczęsny showing he’s not quite the class necessary at Arsenal. Cue keeper jokes.

The silver lining? Three things. First, Robin Van Persie continuing to play hard despite the lopsided scoreline. Seems the captain’s armband is at least wearing off on him.

Not bad...better.

Second? Theo Walcott showing the best feel for the game in awhile. He had smart runs and took smart chances.

Third? Tomas Rosicky seeming to slot in very nicely–again–in Fabregas’s old quarterback role.

»For Spurs, Luka Modric looked everything Chelsea expected him to be.

• Tevez & The City:

Of course, there was this shocking and revealing article on Carlos Tevez last week.

What’s interesting about Manchester City is that for as much as club’s look to them to drive up the price or pay a premium on transferred-in talent, the inverse happens when players are transferred or want to be transferred out of City.

With Manchester City, they don’t need the cash–let’s see Financial Fair Play actually materialize–because they have boatloads of it. Thus they can negotiate a premium or at least fair value themselves for a player transferring out because if they don’t like the offer (Roque Santa Cruz) they can just park the player on the bench.

• Klinsmann’s Campers

A lot of questions as to why a few players weren’t brought into the US national team fold. Namely: Josh Gatt, Herculez Gomez, Omar Gonzalez and Brad Davis.

Here’s our best guesses on why:

» Josh Gatt: He’s not a flight risk and doing very well at the club level. He’s young. He’ll get a shot and is on the radar,

» Herculez Gomez: Not the pivot (see Teal Bunbury) striker that Jurgen Klinsmann wants. As evidenced by Edson Buddle’s work against Mexico, it sure looks like the new manager is looking for a true post-up player.

» Omar Gonzalez: Good question and no idea. Heath Pearce pulled up lame this past weekend. Might Gonzalez get a call? The one thing about Gonzalez, and George John and Chad Marshall is they all play “the big guy” in the back. A slot that Clarence Goodson inhabits and where Michael Orozco made some noise a few weeks ago.

» Brad Davis: Has to be his age at this point.

• MLS: Brad Davis is having an MVP campaign

(stats prior to this weekend)

If you caught up with TSG on Twitter yesterday, you read our rant on Davis. Thirteen assists for Davis. He’s played with a rotating cast of forwards. He’s responsible for Brian Ching scoring from the run of play with his feet!

And he’s got the Houston Dynamo five points out of first place in the East without an attacking midfielder taking any pressure off him. His service is solid. He’s calm on the ball and he’s consistent.

Here’s what TSG had to say about him in the beginning of the year:

But for me, a consumate professional, a tireless worker, wheels and great service is just part of the package of Brad Davis. Underrated, year-in and year-out. This is a lifetime achievement award for the Jude Law look-a-like.

And get this final stat from OptaJack: Brad Davis has created 84 scoring opportunities thus far, 33 more than the next closest player in MLS.

His candidacy is right up there with Thierry Henry’s and Brek Shea’s in the MVP race. MLS media heads, pay your respects.

• MLS: Run of play or not, Galaxy firing

(Again stats prior to this weekend)

This coming…

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50 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by elizabeth on 2011/08/29 at 9:56 AM

    I have to disagree with you on Szczesny. He has the capability to be a great keeper for Arsenal (see CL series against Udinese). The back line, on the other hand, does not. I just remember on the free kick goal, the wall didn’t even jump (although having Arshavin in it doesnt do much good) and there wasnt much he could do on a lot of the goals. and at this point I would say Szczesny>De Gea, despite what the final scoreline might say.

    Reply

  2. Posted by corky on 2011/08/29 at 10:06 AM

    Matt–

    On Bradley, he’s actually repped by Ron Waxman out of the US. I think that they hired Faccini to help place him in Italy — actually pretty smart. I know that he had agents in Germany as well.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:08 AM

      Interesting…thanks.

      I’ll look into that. I thought that Waxman only handled Bob Bradley now.

      I’ll amend the piece above.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:11 AM

        You’re right. Thanks for the catch. Good move then to bring in Faccini.

        Note: I can make allusion to Michael Bradley at Roma anymore because the “reported rumors” glommed on to that one.

        Reply

        • Posted by corky on 2011/08/29 at 10:23 AM

          No problem. I’ve wondered in the past whether Lyle Yorks uses local folks like Bradley did with his transfer. That would be an interesting piece — is it better to have a Euro-based agent who subs out any American work or an American agent who would sub out Euro work?

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:34 AM

            Corky:

            I will have a solid agent deep-dive Q&A within the month. Not with Yorks, but someone his caliber or above. (We’ve been chasing the interview for about 2 months now).

            It is known in the player circles that Lyle Yorks made his name on promising to get players to Europe. He sought out and created the European relationships himself.

            Other “power” agents in North America didn’t make it a calling card, but have made large strides in this regards too including Wasserman Media Group and James Grant.

            Any other questions.

            (To answer your questions…in the past, yes, better to have a Euro-based agent. Now….if you’re good enough (US national, etc.) an American agent just as good.)

            Reply

            • Posted by corky on 2011/08/29 at 12:21 PM

              Great! I’ll be excited to read that. I’d love to hear how the process works.

  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:07 AM

    Not sure about that Elizabeth — but I also realize that my statement on him would be controversial. I agree he was under fire all day and one thing that I liked about his play is that he tried to push the counter when all the outfielders were standing around shell-shocked.

    That said, we was very tentative and I believe the broadcasters had it right that he failed to change his strategy on free kicks. While United/Rooney were brilliant, I agree that he should have put someone on the post or instructed his wall to merely challenge that the ref wasn’t going to blow a whistle if they came out on a kick.

    He needs more time for certain. Agree on DeGea though. I’d be plenty worried if I were United for when their hot streak cools off.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/29 at 10:23 AM

      The commentators didn’t say anything, but for Welbeck’s goal, how can you let the ball bounce in your six yard box and not come for it? He clearly is a talent, but Wenger should have gone after an experienced keeper and loaned him out . Re. putting man on the post, well you’re solving one problem but creating another, but I guess it’s a moot point because Arsenal were punished!

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:36 AM

        Just try something different though.

        A general principle of defense is “force the attackers to make more plays with the ball, not less.”

        Chance for two mistakes instead of one.

        In general: the wall that was being set wasn’t working…try something new!

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/29 at 10:45 AM

          You make a good point Matt. However, Arsenal’s defensive shape was so poor yesterday that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. I mean how many times did United get behind simply because the back four couldn’t hold their line or step up simultaneously?

          Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/08/29 at 1:15 PM

        I think Arsenal should’ve bought a keeper last season, and I think if they had, they’d be in much better shape now. They might have won a trophy and if they had, maybe the greater confidence in Arsenal would’ve kept one of the departed players, allowed Arsenal more leverage, and in general kept Arsenal from the crisis of confidence it’s in right now. Arsenal resembles a bank run right now: they fail, and so no one has confidence, causing more failure, and so on and so on.

        Now, I wouldn’t buy a keeper were I Arsenal because Sczenzy (sp?) is adequate. Arsenal need to break that cycle by boosting morale, for which I’d suggest spending a lot of money on a recognizable name. If reports that they bid (too little) for Goetze are correct, they’re on the right track (investing a lot in a really good player) but not perfect (because Goetze isn’t instantly recognizable as other players are…which, again, says a lot about the Bundesliga’s lack of exposure. Dortmund quoted a price of 35 million euros for Goetze, which sounds reasonable until you realize that six or so teams were willing to pay 40 million for Neymar. Both are fine prospects but Goetze > Neymar.)

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/30 at 6:34 AM

          But I agree with the keeper. I thought they should have gone for Given when he was still at Newcastle United or even Hart when he was at Shrewbury Town, as he was the talk of the town for GKs outside of the PL as few seasons back. For all the money that City have spent, Hart might represent their best bit of business…

          The reality is that Arsenal cannot compete for players who are in the 30M price bracket because those players also typical command wages in the 150K pw range.

          There is an interesting article in The Guardian about Arsenal’s commercial activities benchmarked against their rivals.

          They also still haven’t replaced Dein. Wenger is getting a lot of criticism, but surely some of the executives need to should some of the responsibilty for not being able to bring in Wenger’s targets, no?

          Reply

  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/29 at 10:15 AM

    Caught Offside has PSG interested in Dempsey too.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:37 AM

      I’d be surprised if PSG are interested given their past spending spree, but then again if their owners are anything like Manchester City, then they’ll just stockpile…

      Reply

    • Their current “talks” (rumored, of course) are with Marco Borriello of Roma and Amauri of Juventus- both big, target strikers. I think they are set with winger hybrid types.

      Also, reportedly, ready to pounce on Wenger if he’s made available…

      Reply

      • Posted by SamT on 2011/08/29 at 10:58 AM

        I would love to see Wenger find a new club. And whatever new club that might be, I would certainly tune in to see what happens.

        Reply

  5. While Chievo isn’t a bad club who can cause problems for the big guns in Italy (see Napoli x2 and Inter) they were closer to relegation last year than a Champions League spot. They finished right about where they belong which isn’t too bad for a club that was most recently promoted in 2008.

    All that being said, probably isn’t the worst move for Bradley. The expectations won’t be as high as they would be at Napoli (earlier rumor) and he’ll play in a similar system that he did under Bob for the National Team.

    Reply

  6. Posted by corky on 2011/08/29 at 10:20 AM

    Been reading Seltzer’s stuff over at No Short Corners. Really interesting about Dempsey — I think he’s going to move this window. Color me surprised — if Sky is correct on the fee, 8 M pounds is a big number and one only a handful of teams can afford.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/29 at 10:50 AM

      I’m actually surprised the number is so low especially considering how late in the window this move would be. I can’t see Fulham getting someone even close to his quality for 8 mil this close to the deadline. It’s really not that big of a fee when you consider that Stoke are apparently able to afford 6 mil for Palacios.

      Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/29 at 6:04 PM

        8 sounds about right to me. Its the same amount they got for Smalling. Fulham won’t get anyone close to his quality by the deadline. They are a net neutral team. They spent about 7M euro this offseason and to sell Dempsey gets ownership ahead of the year. They really can’t compete for top 6, they feel that they are good enough not to get drawn into a relegation scrap. Why not cash in?

        Reply

        • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/30 at 4:10 AM

          Well to me they aren’t good enough to stay up without Dempsey. Who do they have to replace his goals? Their next highest goal scorer in the Premier League last season was Hangeland with 6. Last season they scored 49 and conceded 43 to end with 49 points. Take away Dempsey’s 12 and that leaves them with 37 and I don’t want to speculate how many points that would cost them but I’m sure it would be enough to get them a lot closer to the dreaded 40 point level. Throw in the fact that they just lost to Newcastle and have only scored 1 goal in 3 games (by Dempsey of course). Seems dangerous to break even by selling him for that little without a replacement when relegation costs a lot more than that.

          Reply

  7. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 10:59 AM

    Here’s another question.

    If I’m a super club that’s not cash strapped or in serious danger (moderate danger is fine) with the financial fair play baloney (and it is baloney because it will be circumvented ad nauseum)……

    Why am I not stockpiling young talent at a discount right now?

    If I know in good times that I’ll have players that will demand more cash and have more cash from advertisements or promotional deals to offset losses, than why not right now go out and procure a ton of under 22-year-old talent from cash strapped teams?

    That’s what a savvy club would do, but I’m not seeing it.

    Even Arsenal…and I don’t know their balance sheet should just be buying up youth (more than just Chamberlain) in abundance….

    No?

    Reply

    • Posted by EFG on 2011/08/29 at 11:10 AM

      And here’s a question for you: What “super clubs” are we talking about or are we talking about Super Club X?

      Isn’t Arsenal stockpiling the under-22 talent with the problem being that they can’t play at the level currently when they are needed?

      Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/29 at 11:14 AM

      Because every club has only so much bandwidth to develop young talent. City’s been stockpiling young talent, but is it any better for it? Ask Vladimir Weiss how he feels–Weiss looks to me like he’d be a solid Premiership starter but barely appears at all for City. I imagine that’s hurting his development.

      If you wanted to stockpile, you could go the Maximum Udinese path. Udinese, as is well known, owns the professional rights of an absurd number of South Americans and Africans–Jonathan Wilson mentioned looking up a couple of fairly obscure yet impressive players in the u20 World Cup and being shocked that their rights were already owned by Udinese. So here’s what you do with Maximum Udinese: first, you have your top 5 league club; also, you establish an excellent relationship with a midtable Belgium league club. Then you buy tons of players. Some of those–the most promising of the eligible bunch–go straight to the main club. Some of these stay at home with their South American club. The rest go to your Belgium league club, where they stay at least three years, in order to earn their EU passport. Then you either sell them (making sure to retain an option for later, a la Sergio Canales), or you bring them to the main club.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/29 at 11:19 AM

        And what happens when this loophole gets closed? The EU immigration laws are under the micrscope right now.

        Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/29 at 11:14 AM

      But if they are stockpiled and don’t see playing time, how will their value appreciate?

      Reply

    • Posted by Chad on 2011/08/29 at 11:21 AM

      Why do say that Financial Fair Play will be circvemted? History? Just a hunch??

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 11:28 AM

        Well a few reasons. Loopholes are always the means to exploit a system. Present day Wall Street is a great example of this.

        But without getting too almost political, it’s already happening. City is coming under fire because their sponsorship deals (incoming revenue) already seem exorbitant as sponsorships go. Barca and their transfer of Bojan Krkic reeks of roundripping: http://theshinguardian.com/2011/07/27/wednesday-bullets-miller-mls-all-stars-bedoya-more/

        And if all the conventional unconventional circumvention happens there is always bribery as we know in international football.

        Reply

        • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/29 at 11:39 AM

          City won’t be the only ones getting deals like that going forward. Any of these super rich owners will do something similar through shell companies.

          Also, I believe that debt like Man Utd’s where it is the owners who have the debt even though it was used to buy the club will be excluded. So Man Utd will be one of the richest clubs going forward.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/29 at 11:46 AM

          Wall St wasn’t loopholes, they never had the regulation in the first place!!

          But what are the real numbers involved here? The young players that are bought as future stars by big clubs but don’t make the grade, what profit, if any is made – especially when you take into account sell on clauses and appearance fees back to original selling club?

          Plus this might work in the very short run, but do you think you can gain a sustainable competitive advantage in the medium or long run?

          I agree about the new ways of getting around FFP, though. Think it is going to be hard to implement across the EU because all of the different local laws. Many member states might have a single currency, but far away from an economic union…

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/08/29 at 1:09 PM

            That’s not quite true. I wouldn’t call Wall St a case of loopholes or no regulation. I’d call the Wall St financial crisis as being a case of the government not bothering to enforce the regulations it already has. Something like this may happen with UEFA.

            Reply

            • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/29 at 1:38 PM

              Part of the Wall St case wasn’t just loopholes it was a matter of the people pulling off the crimes and abusing the system were smarter than the people who were supposed to be guarding the system. The whole loan crisis was caused by too many people not knowing what was making up a lot of the bonds they were buying into or insuring (in the case of AIG). I can definitely see something along those lines happening with the FFP as the super rich owners dump money into some company that then puts a huge chunk of that into a sponsorship deal for a football club. They’ll just essentially launder the money through a series of companies so by the time it ends up at the club it’s not tied to them. That’s if the FFP is even taken seriously in the first place.

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 11:35 AM

        Here’s a great example in the MLB how league rules get circumvented.

        Stubhub, the ticket reseller, has huge marketing deals with many teams. In turn, the MLB teams give them tickets to mark up on the secondary market for Stubhub to make a profit on.

        If the MLB teams merely said they were doing a revenue sharing deal on tickets with Stubhub, they would owe a certain percentage of the ticket sales (I believe it’s 33%, but I could be way off) to the league office as part of the MLB franchise agreement with MLB.

        However, because it’s a “marketing deal” (and you see Stubhub’s signage everywhere)– the teams get to say this revenue is not ticket-based but marketing based and in turn don’t need to rev share it with the entire league.

        Reply

        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/08/29 at 2:44 PM

          That is a perfect example. Also local TV stations, YES, NESN, etc are great examples of how teams can circumvent the MLB rules. Is YES or NESN really paying top dollar for Red Sox and Yankee coverage or is it a low but reasonable number that goes into the revenue sharing? Obviously the low price for rights means higher YES/NESN profits which the owners plow back into the team.

          Reply

          • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/29 at 3:49 PM

            Are either YES or NESN paying a rights fee? Aren’t they owned the respective teams? I know NESN is owned by the Red Sox.

            Reply

            • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/29 at 6:09 PM

              Since the rights would be subject to revenue sharing (and from what I know the 33% is about right) I can’t imagine that they report no revenue from rights while other teams like the Royals fork over 33% of their rights. I do think that NESN/YES are probably underpaying what the rights would fetch on the open market. Nevermind the rights for access to related programing (the Red Sox have a 2 hour pre-game show and at least an hour post game on location in the park and many programs that are related like the dating show at the Sox games the name of which slips my mind at this point)

              YES is owned by the Steinbreners.

            • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/30 at 4:18 AM

              That leads to an interesting discussion on the future of the Premier League TV rights. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest going forward for Man Utd, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal to break away from the collective bargaining and sell their rights individually similar to Spain? That way they wouldn’t be sharing a portion of the TV money with the other clubs and allow them more freedom under the FFP.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/30 at 11:49 AM

              The current TV deal with Sky will expire soon, as will the agreement with UEFA that KHR was getting vocal about.

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 11:23 AM

      The players can be loaned out. Happens all the time. Even if you take a discount at the loan rate, you’re still building player value and you have a player in hand.

      All economical cycles are cyclical. It would stand to reason that it’s a simple ROI model.

      All clubs have feeder clubs or clubs they work in partnership with.

      I didn’t know about Udinese, but I concur with that approach (in a market downturn.) Pile up assets while you can.

      The challenge with Arsenal in my opinion, if that their manner of securing talent (cheap players from location x) is no longer lacking in competition. I don’t think any of the problems are Arsenals fault; I think it’s more budgetry issues and that the cost of talent is getting higher in the places that Wenger used to look at.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/30 at 11:52 AM

        Just to add: a player cannot be loaned out from the parent club in the same window that the parent club acquired them…

        Reply

  8. Posted by dth on 2011/08/29 at 11:08 AM

    I think the Gonzalez thing is a matter of taste. Do you like George John or Gonzalez or Goodson better? At this point, all of them are approximately equal (I like John most), but it’s more a matter of taste than anything.

    The thing to keep in mind about Gonzalez in comparison to his competitors is that Gonzalez has benefitted from playing with the Galaxy, a dominant team, in a way he won’t necessarily in other contexts. In general, the Galaxy are very good about limiting dangerous possession, which limits the amount of time and the amount of danger Gonzalez has to deal with. Gonzalez has also gotten the benefit of gelling with basically the same teammates and coaches continuously throughout his career; someone, like, say, Tim Ream has had to deal with much more chaos in his career.

    At the end, I believe Gonzalez’s poor lateral movement and overall clumsiness will rule in out.

    Reply

  9. If Klinsmann is looking for a “post-up striker” he should think twice about Bunbury. He lacks physicality and a sound first touch. Teammate CJ Sapong is much better in that regard. Seriously Bunbury is like the fourth best forward on SKC.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/29 at 11:29 AM

      I agree Sapong is good, but I think Klinsmann wants someone who at least purports to be a little bit more well-rounded. The question on Bunbury is what his ceiling is…

      Reply

  10. Posted by darrellm on 2011/08/29 at 11:47 AM

    George john deal just fell through on blackburns part. Wasn’t this a done deal?

    Reply

  11. Posted by dth on 2011/08/29 at 6:29 PM

    Anyone a bit disappointed that Vasquez appears to be Klinsmann’s number one assistant choice? The much-ballyhooed audition process seems to have ended quickly, right?

    It’s also a bit unsettling that the two guys at the top of the totem pole are guys whose previous jobs ended with their being fired within a year of taking it. I mean, yes, there’s context in each case, but still, not entirely reassuring, right?

    Certainly too early to be making any hard-and-fast judgments, but I’m not blown away either.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/29 at 7:01 PM

      I’ll end with a note of sympathy for poor RSL: they’ve lost their past two academy directors in consecutive years (Greg Vanney is now an assistant coach to Robin Fraser; now, obviously Vasquez), and in addition have had their u-16 coach, deemed the coach of the year for the Development Academy, poached by Chivas USA. Sometimes, it seems, it’s a handicap to be too good at hiring.

      Reply

      • Posted by Sam on 2011/08/29 at 8:49 PM

        Also a bit disappointed with the Vasquez news. Seems like Jurgen had his man in mind from the very beginning. Not like these two have the greatest track record together, either. Didn’t exactly set the world on fire when they were at Bayern, did they?

        The news does make me wonder how Vasquez is with tactics. A lot of people wanted a solid “x’s and o’s” guy to be Klinsmann’s right hand man when he was first hired – I personally still feel that way. Is Vasquez that guy?

        And agree on RSL. Kreis and Lagerwey did a great job of assembling talent all across that organization and now have to fill in a lot of gaps in the academy.

        Reply

  12. [...] The Shin Guardian says Bradley is rumored to be on the move. No, not Bob. Young Michael appears headed to Chievo Verona of Serie A, a team I once took to the top of the table in FIFA 06. [...]

    Reply

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