Wading Through US Transfer Rumors

…and coach movement…

Freddy Adu headed to CSKA?

Hard to see Bradley headed to Blackpool...

Carlos Bocanegra to Liverpool?

Of course, we’re kidding with these. I tried to pick to absolutely outlandish statements so Bleacher Report wouldn’t pick them up as fact.

Following the United States win and exposure of some of their players in the World Cup, comes a heightened level of gossip surrounding United States player (and coach) movement this summer.

If you’re a newspaper online who is experiencing the typical 15-20% standard drop in readership over the summer–dropping a little “American” love will get Google crawling your site, deposit your story in Google News and push it to all those soccer folks using Google reader. Ad impression issue solved.

Some US blogs use this strategy as well.

TSG is here to help you out on wading through the the Yanks’ transfer rumors, whether they make sense and how to decipher them.

First, here is the typical equation to look out for when assessing believability:

United States Player + New EPL team with budget OR EPL Team with history of employing Americans + Dodgy, Sensational Publication = Suspect Rumor

For example: DaMarcus Beasley + Fulham + The Sun = Highly Suspect (8 out of 10 on the highly questionable scale)

Levels below this?

Michael Bradley + Wigan (not a team that fits either description above) + The Guardian = Slightly Suspect (4 out of 10) ….hey this one might work.

There are exceptions, for example Landon Donovan back to Everton makes a whole lot of sense. But keeping that formula above in mind should give you a moment of pause.

Let’s quickly run over some rumors:

• Michael Bradley + EPL newcomer with money Blackpool + the Daily Mail

Why this does or doesn’t make sense?

Hard to see this one at all. The reason this claim is made is because Blackpool will have a larger chunk of television revenue to invest in their team with their promotion this year to the EPL….and that’s about the only thing that this rumor has going for it.

Adam, a supposed target of Everton also, is Blackpool's current "MB90"

First, Charlie Adam, all of 26, is the starting central midfielder–and captain–for the Blackpool team. He’s a Scottish International who’s signed through 2012 for the team. While Bradley’s abilities exceed Adam’s, Blackpool would likely need to move Adam first before bringing in Bradley if they maintain their 4-3-3.

Hard to move the team captain who just saw the team through to the Premiership with his stellar play last season.

If you’re Blackpool, hard to bring in Bradley regardless. You’re looking at a player who is signed at Bo’ Munchen through the 2012 season and who’s value comes at a premium. So in essence, if you’re Blackpool management, you’re looking at a player that probably commands a $3M to $5M transfer premium and who likely wants to capitalize on his recent play and extend and increase his deal beyond that. (As far as I’ve looked I cannot find the terms of Bradley’s compensation–they are listed as undisclosed)

Let’s just say that Blackpool is no-shoe in to stay in the Premiership. Assuming Blackpool gets relegated after this campaign, now you have lost leverage on the Bradley asset and you’ll be forced to sell the following year with less revenue on hand.

Hull City did the smart thing with the loan-option-to-buy on Jozy Altidore.

Blackpool is likely looking for more of those loan situations in bringing in players this year–and that doesn’t help Bradley or Bo’Munchen.

Also, in Junior, you’re looking a player who likely wants to go to a higher level club than Blackpool. Bo’Munchen, his current club has more stature.

Oh and here are some of the other rumors that the Daily Mail recently published that they are looking to come true: Kaka to Chelsea, Ashley Cole to Real Madrid, Craig Bellamy to Tottenham. Um, maybe Bellamy, but looks like the Daily Mail is playing darts. The Daily Mail is praying on making a lay-up with Dzeko to Man City just to get one of them right.

(And the Daily Mail also had Brek Shea headed to Fulham last year…just saying.)

(Also see my comments on a Michael Bradley move to Everton here.)

Rumor Rating: Highly Suspect

• Clint Dempsey + AC Milan + Sky Sports

Why this does or doesn’t make sense? TSG commented in this briefly a week ago.

In short, it somewhat does. Milan might have found joy last year with the relatively inexpensive free transfer of Oguchi Onyewu. Dempsey, at 27, is a forward at the height of his value. With recently departing manager Roy Hodgson now at Liverpool and unable to sign him, Dempsey might be wise to move than to put his value in the hands of a new manager that he needs to appease.

With Dempsey–a player who seemingly would thrive in Milan–Milan would have another American to trot out on their stateside tours and player who is opposite star Pato to change up the line-up.

Headed out of town?

Making this deal a little more plausible are reports out the suggest Ronaldhino–who plays the same position as Sir Deuce–is headed to Flamengo.

Of course, there is still the language barrier, Dempsey’s willingness to uproot his family and a host of other reasons that shred some of the credibility.

Sky Sports is a more authoritative source as well.

Rumor Rating: Decent

• Bob Bradley + Fulham + The Sun

Why this does or doesn’t make sense?

TSG has offered our opinion–just yesterday again–on this one ad nauseum, so we won’t go into detail again.

Here’s how the odds makers see it.

For my money, I think I’d split and plunk down a little on Mark Hughes or, another wildcard candidate, Gareth Southgate.

The Sun by the way is like Perez Hilton in a track suit.

(Watch this rumor come back to bite me…)

Rumor Rating: Somewhat to Highly Suspect

• Jay DeMerit + Blackpool (also Sheffield United, Leeds) + Goal.com/MLS Soccer

Why this does or doesn’t make sense.

In short, makes perfect sense here. DeMerit is a well-traveled, experienced and, for Blackpool, experienced in the Premiership due to Watford’s quick promotion and relegation just a few years ago. DeMerit is also a free transfer, no sticky up front fee.

At 30 and with recent maladies to worn away perhaps more high-profile suitors, DeMerit’s contract likely wouldn’t be an issue should Blackpool itself go down after the season. Plus, tongue-in-cheek, he can then pair with an “American” goalie in Paul Rachubka and discuss what might have been…

Rumor Rating: Plausible

More coming…

26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by s44 on 2010/07/13 at 11:59 AM

    He’s obviously not a favorite, but I think “Fulhamerica” is the one EPL club whose fan base wouldn’t be thrown too much by getting Bob.

    I agree with you that Mike isn’t going to a promoted side like Blackpool. IMO only the Euro-level EPL clubs would be a move up, given the “up and comer” status of the Gladbach side (including, of course, him).


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/13 at 12:08 PM

      As I’ve wrote before for Bradley, I’d love to see him at Roma–solid Champ’s League club, fits his personality, DeRossi on the way out eventually, and fiery team and fans. That is even a jersey I would get someone as a gift.

      Likely for him? Not sure actually. He honestly fits for the Arsenal system of holding midfielders who have enough offense, but I just can’t see that…seems like to steep a step up. Need to give it more thought.

      Would be wise to sell him now though if you’re Bo’Munchen.


      • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/13 at 12:17 PM

        Mike at Roma would be great. Hey, the Gazzetta already called him a “Yankee Cambiasso”…

        The rumors seem to put him as a guy who grew up with and favors the Premier League, though. Everton does make sense if and when one of their center mids goes (and there’s money after Donovan).


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/13 at 12:37 PM

        I think Aston Villa and in particular Martin O’Neill would be a great fit for Bradley, especially as there are likely to be some players leaving before the season starts. Plus there are many Americans in Birmingham to help him settle in off the pitch.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/13 at 12:52 PM

          Completely agreed. They certainly need protection in front of the creaky backline and the only person who did that for him was….Chelsea cast-off Steve Sidwell?

          (Off topic) Going over Villa’s roster, it’s not all that impressive beyond Young, Agbonlahor, Heskey-Carew are the over hill. Whatever happened to Stuart Downing–some fall from grace after his injuries at Middlesborough.

          Dunne is good, but still shaky–had a good season. Anyway…


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/13 at 1:17 PM

          Villa are a good team, but IMO it’s that they’re really organised rather than having any truly brilliant players. The players that they have are EPL quality rather than of real international class if that makes sense. I expect a lot from Young, Agbonlahor and Downing this season.

          They have Reo-Coker but he has been up and down. Sidwell has done well, now he has had some regular playing time since leaving Reading, but I still think Villa could do with reinforcing in the central mid area, which is why I mentioned Bradley.

          Villa have some U19 players coming through the ranks, keep an eye out for Baker, Delph and Delfonso. They also have some American kid at RB.


  2. This is a great piece…I look forward to future additions.


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/13 at 3:26 PM

    By the way, for those considering Michael Bradley to Everton. Everton clearly need to sell one or more of Mikel Arteta and/or Steven Pienaar.

    With Fellaini developing and Jack Rodwell forthcoming, Arteta would seem like the more movable asset however Pienaar is looking to relocate as well.

    I’m not sure that David Moyes doesn’t want to perhaps concentrate on a different American in Landon Donovan.

    With Rodwell–a destroyer in the mold of Michael Bradley–signing a contract to keep him at Goodison through 2015, I don’t think Everton disrupts his development under the tutelage of Tim Cahill by bringing in Michael Bradley. But I could be wrong.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/13 at 3:37 PM

      …and…since I’m on a writing kick here.

      How about this chain of actions.

      If you want to Landon Donovan in Toffee blue, you likely should be rooting for Cesc Fabregas to go to Barca.

      Arteta, as I mentioned above, is the perhaps the best fit to replace Fabregas in the short term at Arsenal.

      Should happen, it frees up cash for Everton to get Donovan (or yes, maybe Bradley but I doubt it).


  4. One thought on BB.
    If Bradley goes to coach at the club level, he is like a great college basketball coach trying his luck at the pro’s. I think this analogy begs a few questions:

    1) Can BB adapt to coaching players that see themselves as pros and aren’t as cohesive a team? He prides himself on making his team cohesive and doesn’t like any egos. Will he be able to do that at the next level?
    2) Will he be able to get european players to buy into his system?
    3) Will he be adaptable enough to make the necessary changes (especially during the match) when they need to be made. (i.e. he has a slight penchant to “not see the forest for the trees”)
    4) Big question: How will he deal with a probing and critical media? His stoic non-informative answers will not endear him to anyone in the fan base. If he continues to saying things like “I thought we did well tonight in some places and saw some good things that we can grow on,” at the club level, the club message boards will light-up like christmas trees with questions of: does he know what he is talking about?

    For all these reasons I think a high profile job like Fulham might be a bad fit (plus like mentioned before I think he is on the outside looking in). I hope BB is ready to up his coaching abilities and work on his shortcomings. I really wish him all the best if he makes to jump to the club level in Europe.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/14 at 7:01 AM

      Does he have the equivalent to the UEFA Pro A and B licence? For the most part, that is a prerequisite to coach in the principal leagues in Europe. Not sure he would even get a work visa without them.

      I cannot see a top team going for Bradley as most either go with somebody with a proven track record, either in management or as a player. Not saying that’s right, but historically, that’s the way it’s been. The financial hit from relegation is just too much of a risk.


      • I really have no idea about UEFA licenses. I don’t know what would be required, good questions though. It seems like people reading into the media hype (as Matt alluded to above) are also not questioning the criteria by which club coaches are selected. If I was an EPL exec I don’t think I would take a chance on Bradley either. Not to be unpatriotic but taking everything into perspective, coaching in the EPL and other top club leagues takes a different skill set than coaching in MLS and as an international coach. The job demands not related to in-game decisions are differ in the proportion of attributes necessary (not that you don’t use the same coaching attributes but some are called upon more). I could however see Bradley getting a chance at a lower level European team or an upper level club that isn’t in England, Spain, Italy, etc.
        To keep everything in perspective Bradley has always been a coach that has worked his way up the ladder (from college to various MLS teams, to national coach). If he wants to try coaching in Europe I think he will have to work his way up the ladder as well. The question is at which level/rung does he jump onto the ladder? BB may have been a good fit for the USMNT at this particular time with the circumstances of the past few years but I think he needs to be coaching somewhere else going forward.

        Last thought. If Bradley does go to coach a club team internationally. What are Mrs. Bradley’s thoughts on moving to said country? All the men out there have to be honest that usually you end up living where your significant other most wants to go or is accepting of living.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/14 at 9:48 AM

          It’s not being unpatriotic at all. I think it’s being realistic. Like I said, with the money involved these days, what chairman is going to take that chance? If it went wrong, it would be suicidal for the board with the back lash from the supporters.

          I think he has a better chance being a No. 2 then getting promoted. But not sure he would want to do that at his age / stage of carrer. I would like to see him in the EPL in some capacity though.


  5. to piggy pack on your thoughts regarding these rumors being used page view boosters consider how it works here in the US as well. Many times a foreign mentions he likes America, MLS fans and writers alike often want to jump to the conclusion that said player is hinting he would like to play in the MLS. As of late it has been done with Frank Lampard and this week with Ryan Giggs.


  6. Posted by Sam on 2010/07/14 at 4:30 PM

    I think Mikey should go to Lyon.

    He’d fit in to a system that is good plays champions league football and desperately needs someone who can press effectively.

    He’s also young enough that with effective promotion and performance he could be sold for double his value within a year or two. A lot of clubs could offer him a lot of things but he could develop along a better trajectory for his age at a club like that. Especially with Toulalan more than likely needing a break.

    They just released Bodmer who was a quite similar players in a lot of ways excepting the fact that he was generally puched into a CB or CDM role.

    Nothing to substantiate it, but that would be where I would want him to go, all things being equal.


  7. Posted by Todd on 2010/07/15 at 9:22 PM

    bradley’s old club was borussia monchengladbach, monchen not munchen, munchen is munich, monchengladbach is near the border with the netherlands….. and borussia is latin for prussia, which is north germany, munich is bavaria, hopefully you just made a spelling error, the alternative to that is kind of sad


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/15 at 9:28 PM

      Todd — we’ve been calling Borussia Monchengladbach “Bo’Munchen” on this site for quite some time.


      Quite comfortable with the nickname as is everyone else you reads.

      Your objection and delivery of objection will be noted.


  8. […] BBC report (so if you go back to our transfer rumor equation piece) is out suggesting that Martin Jol (heavens forbid) and Sven Goran Eriksson are the lead candidates […]


  9. […] reiterated on Soccernet.  It started with a paper close to the club, and from a soccer perspective it makes a great deal of sense. As far as Altidore is concerned, it is from MLS Soccer’s website, which is reliable, and it notes […]


  10. […] Just saying…(Need more help on the cheese maze of transfer news, go back to our “first-to-press” decipher schematic for U.S. tranfers.) […]


  11. Posted by Ade Whitaker on 2010/07/19 at 4:00 PM

    Re: Michael Bradley, being linked to Blackpool FC.

    Has it occurred to anyone, that Mr Bradley might just (for one year?) like to follow in the footsteps, of the late, great, Sir Stanley Matthews – Britain’s first footballing knight and Europe’s first player of the year?

    Blackpool, may well be seen to some, as a minnow in the footballing world – but dig deep and there is a history that most clubs would be proud of. Blackpool, WERE the Man Utd/Chelsea, of the late 40’s, early 50’s and people flocked from all over the country to watch them – with most games being sell outs.

    Blackpool’s demise from the top flight of English football, was hastened by the abolition of the footballer’s minimum wage. This led to the large city clubs gaining the upper hand, with their superior attendances and ability to pay higher wages.

    All and sundry, may think that a move to Bloomfield Road for Mr Bradley, is a sideways/backwards step – but what does the player think himself?

    He may just want to tell his grandchildren, that he once played for the same club, as Sir Stanley Matthews – one of the most famous names ever to be associated with the game of football. You can’t put a price on that.

    Sir Stan was to England, as Pele was to Brazil. A LEGEND – and who wouldn’t want to be associated with a legend?

    Michael – Come to England – come to Blackpool – deep down, you know you want to? :)


  12. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/19 at 4:24 PM


    I am more than appreciate you sentiment on Blackpool and your respected for its storied tradition.

    It’s funny because I actually think Michael Bradley–due to his pedigree–would be one few that would be ripe for growing the reputation of club with the history of Blackpool.

    That said, Junior Bradley has identified playing for a top club as his goal. Whereas he might have went to Blackpool a few years ago, Bradley established himself at the World Cup this year and is ready to make the leap.

    I’ve left out finances until now, but in the reality of present day football–the struggle to run a good business, compete and a build the global brand of a club, it would be a huge challenge for Michael’s club to sell him for what Blackpool could likely offer. Bo’Munchen (as we are fond of calling Borussia Moechengladbach) want to also be able to tell players coming there that they have a relationship of selling players to top flight clubs (think Manchester United and its feeder club Royal Antwerp) so they can recruit players.

    Great commentary though Ade


  13. Posted by Ade Whitaker on 2010/07/19 at 5:39 PM


    We’ll take him on loan – we really don’t mind.

    It will at least give him a taster of life in the Premier League AND he’s assured of a game, at least.

    Should he end up at a ‘top’ Prem club, he’ll be rotated as a squad and probably only get to play for a third of the season – if that!

    If he wants to PLAY football – the choice IS obvious.



  14. […] to some folks across the pond that liked and linked one of our pieces on the lack of merit to a potential Blackpool transfer for Michael “Junior” Bradley, I […]


  15. […] Oh, and quick update, Michael Bradley didn’t go to Blackpool, Deuce is still at the Cottage, and surprise, surprise Bob Bradley is not coaching there. But you knew that already if you laminated our Transfer Rumor Equation. […]


  16. […] stop what you’re doing. If you haven’t read our piece from last transfer season about how most US (and pretty much any nation’s) transfer rumors are really just a stupid […]


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