With the January transfer market now open, clubs throughout Europe will be looking to bolster their squads, some pursuing championships, others simply looking to avoid relegation. Here are several Americans who may be making the jump across the pond in the next month.
Freddy Adu, only recently returning to MLS after stints in Portugal, France, Turkey, Greece and even failed trials in the Swiss league and the second division in Germany, is headed back to Europe.
He will be training with La Liga side Rayo Vallecano over the next two weeks. While it may seem unlikely that he will be making a permanent move back to Europe after wandering the continent for four years with little success, several factors make this a possibility.
With the Philadelphia Union, Adu was reunited with coach Piotr Nowak, with whom he has had an uneasy relationship in the past. With the Union, Adu was not a regular first-choice selection, appearing mostly as a substitute, and the Union also left him unprotected in November’s MLS Expansion Draft.
Since a proposed transfer to Blackburn this summer fell through, there have been many reports of George John moving abroad with clubs in England and Greece.
His agent claims that John recently turned down a chance to train with Aston Villa and that he expects John to return to FC Dallas for the 2012 season. However, his contract expires at the end of the season and if MLS feels that he is likely to leave, they may decide to cash in on him now rather than lose him on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Another American who recently trained overseas, Brek Shea could soon be making a move to Europe. Following his training stint with European powerhouse Arsenal, both Shea and his agent commented on his desire to move abroad should the right opportunity present itself.
Although it is unlikely he would sign with Arsenal, there have been reports of a host of interested European clubs drawn in by both Shea’s impressive MLS season with FC Dallas and his rising star with the USMNT.
Ream trained in recent weeks with both Bolton and West Bromwich Albion and drew favorable remarks in the press from WBA manager Roy Hodgson. Bolton, meanwhile, look set to lose Gary Cahill and will need to look for a replacement. However, Red Bulls New York have publicly stated their young stars will not be made available for transfer.
In the end, it may be best for Ream to avoid a winter transfer. After some shaky displays with the USMNT this summer, he is probably not ready for the speed and physicality of the EPL. Additionally, it could be a short stint in the English top flight, especially if he were to go to Bolton as they are in serious danger of being relegated after a horrible start to this season.
Recently linked with both Leeds and Blackburn in England, it is beginning to look increasingly likely Rogers will be heading to Europe. Although he has disappointed in his recent appearances with the U.S. national team, Rogers is still considered one of the better players in MLS and his contract expired at the end of last season.
Rogers recently trained with Kaiserlautern and said he will be making a decision in the coming days. However, his ability to get a work permit could still be a hurdle in the way of a move to England.
Schuler, who just won a national championship with the University of North Carolina and scored 16 goals in his senior season, may forego MLS and move directly to Europe. While Major League Soccer reportedly wants to offer Schuler a Generation Adidas contract, numerous European clubs are reported to be looking to entice Schuler into a move abroad.
John D. Halloran