Saturday, July 28, 2007

Adu Is Gone

As a quick note, it looks like Freddy Adu's sale to Benefica is now a done deal.

Ives raises an interesting point

Can the same player that Real Salt Lake traded the MLS equivalent of a mint to acquire really be a player that RSL is ready to let leave just eight months after trading for him?

Ives points out, Real Salt Lake could put an end to this by telling the league they do not want to sell Adu right now. As for the mint comment, it's true. When the original trade occurred, I wrote that I felt RSL was giving up too much to DC United for Freddy. The move not only gave DC United a major allocation but it helped them get a lot of money off their books both in the then $97k Rimando was making (RSL re-negotiated it down to $65k) but more so the $300k that Freddy Adu is making. With an allocation and that sort of cap space Real Salt Lake could've went after a midfielder with defensive talent like Carl Robinson (TFC) or Pablo Ricchetti (FC Dallas). More so, DC United was said to still be getting the majority of any future transfer fee when Freddy is sold.

So why would Real Salt Lake be willing to let Freddy Adu go now? It could be that they're on the verge of signing Jay Jay Okocha? That could be the case although rumors about Okacha to RSL haven't had legs for awhile so that seems unlikely. That aside it could be the Real Salt Lake got what they really needed from Freddy, a new stadium. Personally, I don't see how Freddy had much influence on the deal. There didn't seem to be much press indicating the deal got done because the taxpayers of Utah and Salt Lake County had their perception of the deal and the team changed with the arrival of a big name player. If anything, the deal seemed to get done because of a last minute intervention by Utah's governor Huntsman.

As mentioned at the time of the deal, RSL had plenty of attacking talent. Since then they've traded away Chris Klein to Los Angeles for Sturgis and Findley. More recently they traded away Mehdi Ballouchy to Colorado for the hard-nosed Kyle Beckerman. At this point, they could use Freddy's attacking skills.

As for RSL's designated player slot, they have not traded it away. Nor do they appear to be on the verge of signing a DP. And in dumping players like Kreis, Tejeda, and Klein they should already have a room for a move like that. There shouldn't be a pressing need to sell Freddy to make room.

It would seem that if anything is pressuring for this move, it is Freddy Adu himself. And if that's the case it makes things all the more interesting since RSL publicly stated that their reason for keeping John Ellinger on board as a technical director (fired as their coach) was because of the relationships he had with players. Reading in between the lines, they were saying because among other things it would help to keep Freddy happy. Once Freddy is gone, one has to wonder if Ellinger will be next.

Some questions for the readers. Is this a good move for Freddy? Do you think Kreis wanted him gone because he didn't fit in his plans? Had RSL managed to hold on to Adu, would he have been worth a designated player slot in 2008 (he was grandfathered in 2007)? Most of all, does this mean that DC United has made out like bandits in the trade?

Tony Sanneh Signs With...

It looks like for the time being ex-USMNT player Tony Sanneh has signed with the Minnesota Thunder (USL-1). Sanneh has been without a team since being released by the Chicago Fire after the 2006 MLS season. Since then he's been linked with a couple MLS teams and spent time training with New York Red Bulls. Recently the Colorado Rapids traded the Chicago Fire a 4th round Superdraft pick for Sanneh's rights. Those only apply in the MLS. Sanneh's deal with the Thunder is said to be only a couple of weeks. That should give him and any MLS team interested in signing him time to work out a deal for his rights with the Rapids and bring him in before the MLS roster freeze date of September 14th.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Adu Going? Freddy Staying? Adu Going?

The speculation over Freddy Adu continues. A lot of fans figured he would be on his way to Europe after he turned 18. Recently it looked like he might stay a bit longer after all. But Ives is reporting that talks between Benefica and Freddy Adu are still ongoing and Adu very well may be joining the Portuguese club for the 07-08 season. Will Real Salt Lake's upcoming game against New England be his last? Would Benefica be a good move for Adu?

Lannycakes Heads Across The Pond?

Sky Sports has an article with Landon Donovan mentioning that he is thinking about heading to England to play. "The older I get and the more I play, the more I'm yearning for that highest level I can play ...". It's good to see Landon talking about wanting to play at the highest level. The last few years in the MLS he's been the big fish in the small pond. He needs more of a challenge.

Normally I would write off this sort of article as idle Beckham talk. That is, part of the slew of press that England is giving the MLS with Beckham now in the league. There's even a weekly MLS TV show in England. But long before Beckham's arrival this year, rumors have been circulating that Landon's agent has been shopping him around clubs in England. And unless the Los Angeles Galaxy needing a 2nd designated player slot for the 2008 season if they are to hold on to both Beckham and Landon, this winter would be a good time for him to make that move back across the pond.

What do you think? Will Landon do it? If he does, what club would be a good fit for him?

Props to Because I Think Way Too Much About Soccer for bringing this one to our attention.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Non-Surprise Of The Summer : Simao Leaves Benefica

For any of you following the gossip and news out of Western Europe you're not surprised to see that coveted winger Simao has left Benefica. He's been linked with a move to a big club for a quite some time. In fact, it seems like it's been at least 2 years running now that Benetiz has been rumored to want to bring him to Liverpool. It also seems like it's been a couple years now that it's been reported Simao would rather give Ron Jeremy a wax job than have to deal with Rafa Benetiz.

The long, odd courtship is over. Simao put the matter to rest and made a 20 million move to...... Atletico Madrid! It really should not be a surprise that Simao didn't move to Liverpool. Although it's a bit ironic that a player Benetiz has been long rumored to covet got away thanks to Liverpool's money. After all, Liverpool just shelled out €40 million to Atletico Madrid for Fernando Torres. They didn't think even Atletico would let that cash do nothing but collect dust, did they?

Freddy's Staying?

Thanks to FC Rocky for catching an article updating us on the Freddy Adu situation. It looks like the league and Benefica were able to come to terms but Freddy and the Portuguese club could not. More details on it at FC Rocky.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Kaka

Props to Who Ate All The Pies on catching this one. It looks like Kaka's not-so little brother Digao will be playing with AC Milan this year. Milan signed the 6' 4" defender in 2005 but loaned him out to gain more experience. It's the only brother-brother combination on big teams in Europe that I know of with the Argentine Milito brothers having parted ways. Diego and Gabri were both employed at Real Zaragoza. But defender Gabriel's recent €20.5 million move to Barcelona has broken up that duo. Am I overlooking anyone? Are there any other brothers playing together on the same team?

Rest In Peace Raimundo Perez Lezama

Who? Raimundo Perez Lezama was a legendary Spanish goalkeeper who brought new techniques and thinking to the position in the Spanish game. More on him can be read here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Freddy Adu, Headed to Benefica?

The rumors around Freddy Adu leaving Major League Soccer for Europe have been swirling on and off since the off-season if not the last couple of years. Recently the chatter has stepped up again and it would seem from the article below there is something to Adu being linked with the Portugese side Benefica. Will it happen? If so, I'd expect RSLFM to give us the best insight on it. Salt Lake Tribune :

Sources confirmed media reports that Adu is most likely headed to Benfica in Portugal, in part because of how difficult it would be for him to obtain a work permit to play for either of the other two teams most interested in him, Celtic FC in Scotland or Tottenham Hotspur in England.

However, Adu and his agent still must work out a transfer fee with Major League Soccer - the league owns the contracts of all its players - in addition to the details of a personal contract with any potential employer. Media reports have said the league wants $7.5 million for the rights to Adu, a price that might be viewed as too steep for a player who, despite his star turn at the recent Under-20 World Cup, has done little for RSL.

Ballouchy's Elbow

Seeing Ballouchy's blatant elbow at the end of the first half of the Rapids game at KC left me wondering 2 things :
1) Will the league do anything? It was clearly intentional and surely deserves suspension.
2) Is it Clavijo? How many more times do we need to see CO players doing these sort of things, this time it being the new guy, before we wonder if Clavijo is behind some of this? That is, not in telling players to do this specifically but sending them the message that he expects to see them fighting and scrapping. Could it be?

One other quick note on the match, can someone please tell Eddie Johnson that there is nothing "grown-up" about divers? I'd appreciate it. Had he not gone fishing for contact on Bouna he could have easily blown by him and scored a goal.

Toja's Smashing The Record

As I pointed out a few weeks ago, Toja is on pace to set the all-time record for fouls committed in a season in the MLS. Since then he's up his pace. He's now committed 61 in 18 games. Keep in mind most years committing 61 fouls is good enough for a top 5 (or should that be worst 5?) finish for the season. Toja's managed it in just 18 games. At this rate he's on pace to commit 102 in 30 games. That would blow away the current record of 83 fouls committed in 31 games. Diego Serna did that with the Miami Fusion back in 2000. More so, for a playing that is so dangerous offensively he's conspicuously absent from the fouls suffered top 10. in fact, 3 of his Dallas teammates have suffered as many or more. Toja has a lot of talent but he still has a lot to learn about some of the finer points of the beautiful game.