Archive for the ‘Americans Abroad’ Category

Herculez Gomez: Pursuing The American Dream… Abroad

This piece below written by US National, World Cup veteran and current Estudiantes Tecos player Herculez Gomez.

The fire to play. More important than the building view...

Editor’s Note: An appropriate segue out of the July 4th weekend, Herculez Gomez tries his hand at his first written piece…and it’s good.

Herculez and I spoke about a recent article on Freddy Adu. We agreed–while not the main focus of the piece–that it’s tone made it too casual about what it is like…making your way as an American player, or really any player, overseas.

Freddy Adu’s club status–last year he closed the season on loan for a Turkish 2nd division team–was dictated by his contract status at Benfica and his maturity. Was it, along with his production, dictated by his ability? That was but a secondary factor.

It’s hard to treat expectation and production as independent of club status, contract and other factors. More importantly, player movement abroad is a matter of business firstly, less about allegiance to one club or another.

Herculez glommed on to another part of the piece as well. The notion of a “journeyman”–a foreign word to fanbases outside the United States.

I posed to him the question of just who is a journeyman and who isn’t? Also, aren’t players supposed to seek out the best playing situation and best wages?

I also asked Herculez to speak on behalf of his 140-word Twitter opine that “a player leaves for more dollars it’s greedy; a team cuts you and it’s just business?”

What follows below is Herculez’s own words and response. I keep saying broadcast after his playing career. Herc says no.

——-

Herculez Gomez...

I don’t know how to answer that last question–“a player leaves for more dollars it’s greedy; a team cuts you and it’s just business?”–without explaining both sides first.

Its like that Drake song lyric “We live in the same building but got different views”, To the fan we–athletes may look greedy and only out for ourselves.

The fans hurt, I get it.

Trust me I’m a Raiders fan. I have suffered enough for one lifetime, I don’t want to see or hear about a player leaving for more money.

It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

But what about those guys who my beloved Raiders cut?

Good!

Get rid of them, not  good enough anyways, right? That’s the fan in me percolating up.

Its part of the business, comes with the territory. Trades, waivers, invasion of privacy, etc. These are all problems many of us would trade for in a heartbeat, I get it. I would kill to play in the NFL, I would.

And no, not as a placekicker, c’mon.

When it comes to the American Footballer–soccer player for the good soccer moms out there–it’s not so cut and dry. It just isn’t.

Gomez for the Galaxy. Paltry salary but tremendous kits, no?

Let me give you a little insight to my taste as a “professional athlete”, the following are actual salaries in my time playing in the US of A:

2002 SD Gauchos USL $600 a month (plus a sweet coaching job on the side)

2002 LA Galaxy MLS Developmental Player $825 a month (good luck living in LA for that amount!)

2003 LA Galaxy MLS DP $825 a month (my Grandma now lets me sleep on her couch)

2004 SD Gauchos/ SD Soccers Indoor  total for both was about $1200 (I was told by an actual MLS coach that soccer was not in my future, Waived.)

2005 LA Galaxy MLS Senior DP about $1300 a month (My friend and old youth coach lets me into his home free of cost.)

2006-09 LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, KC Wizards MLS $50,000-$54,000

And, my friends, these were all semi-guaranteed contracts.

I guess this would make me–as that way-too-casual piece on Freddy Adu comments–a “journey man” to some, but does this mean I’m less successful than players that stay with one team for a majority of their careers? I sure hope not.

Don’t get me wrong I would do everything all over again, given what I know today and where I am. It makes me appreciate what I have today, but if not for the help of many people throughout my past I wouldn’t be as lucky.

But for me, and American footballer, a player whose career track has resembled a Plinko board, its much more than just money, its the football culture, its testing yourself amongst others regardless of salary considerations sometimes, its getting noticed by your national team–a high honor that should never be poo-pooed.

So what does one do–who wants to pursue a passion that just happens to be a career too?

Go abroad or stay in the comfort of what you know?

I chose to go abroad, or rather had that choice made for me by my then-team in the MLS. It wasn’t by my own solicitation.

It’s just business though. Nothing personal. The professional athlete in me gets it.

I’m a product, and a disposable one at that.

So you head aboard and…

My first thought was “Wow! This is how players outside of American Soccer live?”

My teammates drive Porshes, Audis, BMWs, etc. As apposed to lets say my Saturn “on” (It used to be an Ion, but the “i” fell off durring my 27-hour drive from Vegas to Kansas City a few years ago.) They–and me–are celebrities, sought after by media and fans.

It’s awe-striking, some netherworld that sometimes is hard to believe exists.

And finally–on what seems like the 50th stop on the D subway train of life–I have a breakout season with Puebla.

Before I know it, I’m being courted by teams and agents all with promises of your happiness and best interest.

Then sold!…to the highest bidder (Pachuca), my old team makes a hefty profit. I’m villianized by the fans, labeled a “mercenary.”

It’s hard to understand, especially when you’re driving that Saturn model, amongst a sea of expensive cars in the training lot.

The facts show that Puebla sold me. It was their perogative and they made a tidy profit.

When I used to don the cherished Puebla sash, everytime I possessed the ball in the attacking third, the crowds would cheer and rise to their feet in expectation. It was a wonderful feeling.

My first game back? A crescendo of boos hit me as I enter as a sub on the touchline. Whistle and jeers everytime I touched the ball.

It’s hard to reconcile.

Labeled a mercenary and not by choice! Am I journeyman because my former club took advantage of my production?

Now in Pachuca, a coaching carousel and misplaced expectations see me moved again.

At Tecos, I’m thrust back in the world of uncertainty and a semi-guaranteed lifestyle, it’s a crazy circle. An American journey man once again, I guess.

There are two sides to the coin.

Americans playing abroad, we aren’t these money hungry “mercenaries” or a pack of washed-up “journey men.”

We are just regular Joe’s–or in my case Jose’s–looking for what every other American looks for, the American dream in the career tract or business we’ve chosen.

We just had to go overseas to pursue it, whichever way it was uniquely scripted.

Gomez, dream, attained...for now...

———-

More on TSG:

Herculez Gomez, The TSG Interview: You Never Know Where Life’s Going To Take You, So Make the Most Of It

On Playing Abroad: As Told By Preston Zimmerman

Op-Ed: Sports Reporting 2011: On Data, Photos & Compromise

Preston Zimmerman, Bound For SV Darmstadt 98

Preston

TSG fave Preston Zimmerman takes another step in furthering his German footie career today.

Zimmerman–who has been at Mainz playing on their reserve team for a year now–signs today with SV Darmstadt 98.

Zimmerman had offers from Greece and Croatia but told TSG that Darmstadt, recently promoted to the 3rd Bundesliga, offered precisely the opportunity he was looking for.

Zimmerman wrote us, “My dream is to play in Germany and be here. I love the country, the people and the football. The coach [Kosta Runjaic] is the reason for me going there. He’s young (39 years old) and done a great job.”

“The club has a big tradition and history–they drew 17,000 in their last game of the season in the 4th division.”

Zimmerman also added that being 30 minutes from his current location of Mainz was a factor as well.

We wish Zimmerman–who said he’ll play as many as five positions but be focused at right midfield–all the luck in the world.

TSG’s lengthy (and tops in our book) interview with the now SV Darmstadt man. Part I, Part II, Part III.

Michael Bradley: Trying To Reclaim MB90 Status

Bulletin July 2012: Michael Bradley to Roma.

MB90 with a Gatorade and “smile” circa a DCU Reserves vs. Metrostars match in October 2005.

May Update:

What’s changed since we did this piece below in March:

• The Resurgence of Stan Petrov at Aston Villa

The skinny: After coming back from injury, the captain increasingly found the pitch for Villa as they navigated away from relegation waters. Petrov’s calmness on the ball and “been through it before” resume certainly contributed to his name being on the first eleven team sheet more often than not through the first half of 2011.

Whereas it though Petrov might be encouraged to move on from Villa at year’s end, it now looks like a sure bet that he will finish out his contract, training his days at The Barn.

• Today, Nigel Reo Coker and Robert Pires were released by Villa.

The skinny: Pires was done-for well before today at Villa. He rarely contributed through the 2nd half of the campaign.

As for Reo-Coker, it appears that the demand for his services is paramount to what Villa was willing to ante up to procure his services. Very interesting indeed and it moves up Michael Bradley now to 3rd or 4th in the pecking order, depending on how one evaluates it.

The depth chart in the central midfield may look like this: 1) Jean Makoun 2) Stan Petrov 3) Fabian Delph (for more on Delph see below) 4) Michael Bradley

Delph, a star in the making for England, will certainly be given more chances in 2011.

• Ashely Young and Stuart Downing are both “plotting their escapes” from Villa.

The skinny: Ashley Young is rumored to sign for Manchester United (oh my) on Monday. While Stuart Downing this past week did an abrupt you turn and said that he would play out his current contract with the club.

Downing’s future is more of a mystery, while Reo Coker sees assured of moving to a stronger side, be it in the EPL or elsewhere.

The impact here? How will Villa uses the funds secured from moving Ashley Young. With Mark Albrighton in reserve, they may not opt for another winger and it’s well known that Houllier loves his central midfielders.

• Borussia Moenchengladbach escape relegation on Wednesday with a win over Bochum.

The skinny: Bradley of course went on loan from “Bo Munchen” in January to Villa. Many different reasons why the transfer ensued–American media reports say he put in for a transfer while German reports are mixed.

Either way Gladbach can stomach the return of Bradley from a roster cost perspective in 2011-2012, though (thanks to @amfid on Twitter for the next part where I originally erred), Gladbach Sports Director Max Eberl said in an interview that there is no way back for Bradley.

Additionally, Havard Nordtveit (20) and  Roman Neustädter (23) doing well in the dual holding roles and Gladback reportedly seeking a new player for this position in young Matthias Zimmermann (2009 U-17 euro champion with Germany) a talent from 2nd Bundesliga team KSC set to join Gladbach in the center.

From fans that have cascaded through TSG, the sentiment seems to be that they want Bradley to transfer and get a decent price for him.

Going into June:

Going into June, Michael Bradley will be a key figure for the US in their pursuit of Gold Cup victory. Incredulously, Bradley has played nearly as many international minutes thus far in 2011 as he has club minutes.

A strong showing in the Gold Cup would help Bradley, but most of the audience for the tourney is here in the States, not abroad.

Best bet for 23-year-old Bradley? Back to the Bundesliga or slotting in with a mid-to-bottom table side EPL side if Villa declines to make the move for him, perhaps a Wigan. Roberto Martinez obviously did the American World Cup coverage for ESPN and saw quite a bit of the Bob Bradley’s son.

Wild card? Let me toss out Everton, long with a storied connection to Americans as well as rumors of Jack Rodwell moving on. Bradley would be a fine complement there to the possession, less-defensive oriented hubs of Fellaini and Arteta.

Our bet right now? Villa makes a short term (2 years?) play for his services. With Reo-Coker out and Bradley already familiar with the system, Bradley would seem like a good bet in the midfield committee for the Villians. Villa has until May 31st to decide if they want to accept Gladbach’s transfer terms.

That said, it sure looks like Gerard Houllier is jettisoning Americans at the club with Brad Friedel rumored out to Liverpool and other realms, with Brad Guzan likely moving to a Championship side and with Eric Lichaj saying he wants to stay at Leeds.

Below from March 6th…

———-

Always determined: Michael Bradley (photo credit: Matt Mathai)

Much has been made in the American media about the growth, and recent plight, of US international Michael Bradley.

A polarizing figure to say the least.

2007 USMNT camp: Tough guys..

A wavy, but abundantly positive-trending, career has seen Bradley selected into MLS…by his father (present USMNT coach Bob Bradley, then NY-NJ MetroStars manager) as a precocious and brooding 16-year-old. Bradley soon after took to Europe and ended up scoring more goals in a season overseas than any American, 16 league goals for Eredivisie side SC Heerenveen in 2007-08 (of course, this record is currently threatened by Giuseppi Rossi in La Liga who notched his 15th for Villarreal in their stunning 3-1 loss to Atletico Madrid this past Saturday.)

Upon his Dutch success, a big move to Bundesliga side Borussia Moechengladbach (Bo’Munchen) was in the offing and Bradley became a fixture in their line-up during his time there (despite some clashes with the coaches).

Bradley’s fixture status even extends to the USMNT national team where he played all possible minutes for the US in South Africa. This after being one of three players through the 2010 World Cup qualifying to play 1300 minutes or more for the States (the others were Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra). Bradley and company played 12% more time than anyone else including stalwarts Oguchi Onyewu (injured in the final game of qualifying) and Tim Howard.

The case in point?

Michael Bradley is resilient, oft-not-injuried, critical component of any team he plays on and his pedigree shows an upward moving level to his play.

That notion makes Bradley’s next few months at his club Aston Villa all the more compelling.

Having been transferred to Gerard Houllier’s Aston Villa side in the January window–until this past Wednesday in the FA Cup–Bradley had not played more than 45 minutes or started for club or country in 2011, astounding for a player who seems more and more effective the faster and faster his pitch odometer revolves.

American media loves to use and re-use the statement that wherever he has went, Bradley has eventually earned starter’s minutes and made an impact.

Man, Barry Bannan is like Deco-tiny, huh? MB90 being a bad Citizen this past Wednesday.

However, while it appears Bradley will stick at Villa Park–his current playing time hiccup more a matter of game fitness than ability in this writer’s opinion–the battle for consistent and exclusive starter’s minutes may be less about how he plays and more about the dynamics outside of his control, specifically player contracts and manager tinkering.

The crowded Villa centerfield has no less than eight players that could theoretically play for the 1st team or have played for it.

Let’s take a look at each of these players, dissect their situation and round out with Junior Bradley’s playtime prognostication:

First, let’s dismiss two of these players outright:

The Non-Contenders

It’s a good thing Ireland isn’t there, or else with fellow dome waxer MB90 it could get awfully confusing on the inside….

Stephen Ireland: The highly talented Irishman arrived at Villa Park with a bunch of quid in a swap for James “I wish I never met Steve Cherundolo” Milner under the reign of previous manager Martin O’Neill. Once Houllier arrived, Ireland appeared to fall out of favor and both sides mutually agreed to part ways for the rest of the season as Ireland join the Tynesiders on loan through the end of the campaign. Said Houllier at the time, “Once a player wants to go, he goes.”

Ireland is out of contract this year and his chance of re-upping at Villa I would put at no higher than 0%.

Isiaih Osbourne: England youth international Isiaih Osbourne appears to be moving on as well as Summer 2011 dawns. The 23-year-old is currently on-loan at Sheffield Wednesday–where they’ve been pleased with his play–but the same can’t be said for the Mothership.

Osbourne–who was arrested, but not charged for suspicion to rob in 2009 further muddling his shot at Villa– has been loaned out four times by the senior side.

Despite being 6’2”, 23-years-old and clearly having some talent, Osbourne appears destined to move on in the Summer when his contract expires as well.

—-

That leaves six, for now. Let’s handicap the rest, starting with may appear the lesser of the threats:

Continue reading

The Weekend: What Are You Watching

Quick note: We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming (in-depth interviews, long form analysis, witty commentary) shortly.

MLS revving up this weekend while the EPL is winding down and some great match-ups.

TSG's new "Sean Franklin," so to speak...

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: First up in the homeland is the least hyped match of the year, the Seattle Sounders taking on their pesky little brother Portland Timbers.

If you’re an MLS fan, you’ve been inundated with promotion for this game, but it’s justified.

Seattle has been playing uneven at best and comes off a shaky two game road trip that saw them wilt in DC and hold on in Columbus. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid by the way has never lost to his old employers the Crew.

This week though the Sounders face a Portland team that appears to be gradually coming together under John Spencer. As much Portland has attempted to play a more open and attacking game, it’s their set piece work (Spencer is of course a disciple of Dom Kinnear in Houston) that has been lethal. Jack Jewsbury doing an impeccable job in the early going serving up the stopped ball.

For Saturday, expect Portland to play the ball down the flanks as Seattle’s fullbacks, Leo Gonzalez and James Riley, have been susceptible to giving up the corner. Look for the new apple of TSG’s eye Jorge Perlaza to be a handful.

Going the other way, same attack story for Seattle, finding offense through Erik Friberg’s service and Alvaro Fernandez’s best Zakuani impression to open up Fredy Montero in the middle.

Elsewhere:

Galaxy vs. Sporting KC: If I’m an LA fan….I want to see David Beckham play some defense and make some on-target…non-yellow card tackles. Has to be hard for Bruce Arena to look a player like say 30-year-old $130K-a-year Todd Dunivant–who’s going up-down every game on the corner–in the eye and tell him it’s $5M-a-year Beckham that needs the rest.

FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union: The Union still cannot get their offense in gear. Mentioned it previously, but Philadelphia would have been a lot better off saving their Carlos Ruiz money and selecting and inserting Will Bruin into their line-up. Mind you, not because Bruin’s been hot, but because Ruiz and Sebastien Le Toux go together about as well as Timbers and Sounders fans. Both makes the same runs and both drop the same place in the midfield.

How will the Union deploy this weekend?

Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake: Koke and a smile this weekend?

Okay, didn’t know where to put the following and I want to comment on it.

Here was MLS exec VP Nelsen Rodriguez on the Marcos Mondaini suspension (for breaking Javier Morales’ ankle with a late slide from behind)

“During its discussions, the committee characterized Mondaini’s tackle as late, clumsy, and from behind,”

 “It was also, however, seen as an attempt to prevent his opponent from scoring. Brian Mullan’s tackle on Steve Zakuani last month did not serve such a purpose. Rather, it showed utter disregard for his opponent’s safety and appeared to be driven by anger.” 

You know the problem I have with this? The implication that it’s okay to foul someone to prevent them from scoring. Yes, it happens and players, coaches official know it will happen, but you can’t justify the Mondaini (short) suspension by saying it’s attempt to prevent a score. What does that say about your league, about the type of play you expect?

Whether you believe Mondaini got too lenient or harsh a sentence for the penalty, the league acknowledged that it’s trying to crack down on overtly physical play. It’s a smart move that will improve a more flowing, attacking brand of football.

Now with the lack of penalty for Mondaini, you (the league) has almost acknowledged those types of fouls are permissible. The league should have come down just short of Mullan (8 games) and said, “We don’t care about the injury. You can’t project one will happen. But we care about reckless play and we want players to think twice before intentionally following someone.”

David Ferreira fouled a league-high 84 times last campaign. Javier Morales; 76. If I’m a player looking to come to MLS and I’m a creative type that will make the league more exciting, don’t I put this on the “negative” side of my positive-negative review of coming to the States.

Look at the SPL; its reputation as a physical league precedes it. How many “beautiful game” players, how many Brazilians, Argentinians play in that league?

EPL

Tevez, still an uncertainty for this one.

The FA Cup: Manchester City vs. Stoke City: Either way this game will be, let’s say, energetic. Either Manchester City will brandish their class and ring up a 3-0 victory or Stoke City will initiate Project Mayhem on the pitch and look to lay the wood on City and rough them up at every turn, leading to a 1-0 or nil-nil 90 minutes and extra time.

Really quite fascinating because Stoke City can’t really compete on talent here with Manchester City looking for their first silverware and champagne….supernova.

Wigan vs. West Ham: Better than the FA Cup, the relegation battles and this is the biggest one of the season. Wigan on 36 points, West Ham, a paltry 33 points. This is a must-game for West Ham or they’re headed down. Period. Wigan are home and with the weather report expect to be a rainy 55 degrees, this one’s going to be a slopfest…and it favors the home teal as they bring down the Hammers and send them to the Land of Lower TV Revenue.

Oh by the way, my EPL predictions? Close, no cigar. Here’s what I had at the beginning of the season:

• Matthew, TSG: (5) Manchester City, (4) Liverpool, (3) Arsenal, (2) Manchester United, (1) Chelsea

I’ve probably got the top five here as Liverpool should go out swinging, but I didn’t think United had it this year. Wrong.

More shortly…

The Weekend: What Are You Watching

Break out the Chardonnay and croissants. It’s Mother’s Day Weekend, here in the States only as I learned on Twitter yesterday.

Giggs, incredulously going stronger than Lampard these days...

But there is a full plate overflowing with bangers, mash and a whole host of phenomenal footie affairs.

The “premiere” match-up? Of course that’s Manchester United vs. Chelsea. John Terry vs. Wayne Rooney. Massive debt (MUFC) vs. Diminishing Wealth (CHE), Aging talisman (Giggs) vs. Very aging sharpshooter who doesn’t create anymore and is really just taking up space sometimes (Lampard), though he’s a complete professional.

Chelsea just off the top ‘o the table, Manchester United looking to brush them under.

There’s more of course, the USMNT’s two “2011 EPL minutes leaders” in the central midfield go head-to-head. Of course that’s Michael Bradley vs. Stu Holden rather Jermaine Jones vs. Jonathan Spector. West Ham is currently porkloined in the basement, Blackburn is a hovering.

Roma vs. Milan goes down in Serie A. Unfortunately Roma’s tomato over-ripened about half a season ago. Maybe Zlatan will create some excitement though.

Bundesliga, pass this week. I’ll take flack.

La Liga, pass this week. Won’t take flack.

Back home in MLS, you’ve got the bi-coastal marquee match-up of the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. the New York Red Bulls. If you remember last year, the Red Bulls visited a Galaxy-side that was depleted at the back having to play then-second choice Leonardo and third stringer Yohance Marshall in central defense.

That said, it was the Red Bulls central defense of Tony Tchiani and Rafa Marquez that laid the beatdown on Dema Kovalenko and Juninho in the middle and that was the story of the match and will likely be the key ingredient to Saturday’s match. Can the Los Angeles Galaxy midfield step-up when teams stretch to cover a withdrawn David Beckham and advancing Landon Donovan.

Don't worry Omar....

On the opposite side, Bruce Arena’s company will have to deal a methodical linking attack of the Red Bulls that’s starting to take shape.

...you're beautiful...

They’ll also have to deal with the fact that Omar Gonzalez readied himself for the match by going to see James Blunt this week. Don’t worry, we called him out.

Elsewhere, the Sounders take on Columbus in their 2nd game of the week and need to put it together–again–on offense to do any better than a draw. Philly heads to Portland’s lair for a battle of offense vs. defense.

Two more notes:

» First, gave a little stick to Grant Wahl about his Sporting KC MLS Cup pick. He fired back that he was still all-in on the wizardry of Peter Vermes.

Sporting KC might be looking down at no one in the table right now, but they’re a lot better than their record indicates. Red cards in all but one game (that will get corrected), a road trip from hell to start the season while Lance LIVESTRONG park readies itself for the MLS Tour, and injuries to the backline.

Yes, this man is, in fact, a ferocious defender...RRRrrgh...

KC haven’t lost a game by more than one goal and were in every game that they have played. Once they get back home, their defense will solidify and with the weapons up front, they’ll just need to get that midfield a little more sorted. With a KC bye this week, good times for you fantasy footie managers to pick up some Sporting players on the cheap. Just got myself a shiny new Michael Harrington on discount.

» Second, and am way late on this: I love the move to ban colored shoes on the pitch. If you recall it was a shrewd business move by Nike to guerrilla market the 2010 World Cup. This consisted of: calling out the Jabulani, making the infamously expensive hype video featuring Wayne Roo-ins and more, and of course, honoring their athletes contracts by outfitting their South Africa bound players with shoe colors that went highlighter.

In case you didn’t know, that the color is for them to get noticed, nothing more. And I for one, cannot stand when a marketing move disrupts the tradition of club color’s or unity. Anywho…

Back to the games….

Michael Bradley To Be Re-Upped At Villa? No So Fast…

A report out today by Tim Abraham in Birmingham, link forthcoming, saying that US international Michael Bradley might still factor in Gerard Houllier’s Aston Villa plans for next year despite the lack his lack of playing time to date.

That kit may still be worn yet in 2011!

Villa assistant boss Gary McAllister, presiding over the team in as Houllier recovers from a heart condition, with the following quote, ““Michael has done enough on the training ground to suggest there might be something come the end of the season because he has an honest, hard-working guy as well as a good player,” said McAllister.

“It’s true that it has been hard to play him at a time when we have had senior experienced players available in the situation we have been in.”

“And that is purely all that has held him back, nothing else, because his attitude has been top draw.”

“He is a fantastic professional for such a young guy – he is captain of his country don’t forget and he is a top player.”

Now, before you run about or tweet about, there is a conflict here.

If Bradley was as an excellent a player as is being stated here, then why isn’t he playing. Surely if Villa were to need Bradley’s services it would be now–as he was procured for–in the middle of a relegation battle.

That conflict, as we spoke about it our previous Bradley pieces (here and here) is Nigel Reo Coker. What’s the easiest way to rattle an agent who is playing chicken with his player’s forthcoming work postal code in 2011-2012? Why that would be floating a story that his understudy is about to be signed off loan from Germany for the next year’s campaign.

Stay tuned.

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