The World Cup has ended, which means that the summer transfer season is in full swing around the world, MLS included. The summer transfer window is open, and if you've been hiding under a rock, Thierry Henry is the first big name who's made to the move to NYRB.
If you watched the Sounders match yesterday, ESPN was all over the Henry signing like it was the only thing happening in sports. Which it was, weirdly enough. ESPN anchors and American sports fans alike who don't necessarily follow soccer but know the name Henry were all somewhat shocked by the big move. Of course, our incredible team of bloggers here at The Offside have known the rumor for quite some time, so hearing it finally announced was a just vindication of our ability to sort through the chaff of the rumor mill. It's about as hard as having a birthday. But give us, and yourselves, some credit.
If you noticed up above, I said Henry is the first name. Which means, as I believe, there is a good chance we might see another big name coming into MLS. Most notably I'm talking about this story that Soccernet put up today.
The one thing I've learned about MLS rumors and how they are different than the back pages of say, The Sun, is that they are usually true. As in, we had months of just getting whiffs and rumors of Ljungberg becoming Seattle's DP, and we were right. So, now there's rumors of Ronaldinho and other names like Rafa Marquez, Oscar Perez, and Fabio Cannavaro. Of course, ESPN could just be feeding the Henry-MLS-is-finally-making-it-big frenzy, but the fact that RSL owner was the source makes me think hard into this.
Seattle's FO has been able to stay relatively quiet this summer, with the signing of Blaise secured long ago when Seattle's season was still looking solid. However, the season's form has been begging for some changes. With so many transfer rumors circling, you're bound to talk about Freddie Ljungberg leaving. And the fact that Seattle has room for one more DP, and more than enough money to pay that luxury tax for the third DP.
Why? Freddie has gotten fat. The biggest change he's added this season is his new hair-do. Now there are definitely other solutions that don't require shipping him off to a better paying retirement facility (New York). Like exchanging him for Juan Pablo Angel, so that he can join his long lost love Henry. There, they could both pretend to relive their Invincible glory days before they realize how shoddy MLS really is, like a hot tub time machine, only where your current wage-paying time dimension is several commas better than anything you could try to aim for when you were young prodigy teenagers with the world at your feet.
I didn't immediately like the thought of a Freddie-Juan Angel swap, but it's been bouncing around my head all day, and I'm not entirely neutral to the idea. It's clear that MLS's shape is changing in American sports, but so is the competitive landscape. If anything, after the first semester we should have at least learned our lesson against procrastination and thinking we did all of our homework. That's why with all the rumors floating around, I think it's time Seattle grabbed onto one and turned it into a solid chance to reignite our season. We're far from finished, and with Blaise making his long-awaited debut soon, huge guys like Nate Jaqua and Oswaldo Alonso finally working back into the fold, and young ones Montano and Seamon showing their passion and potential, we have a good chance to spring forward into fall, instead of lagging behind at the bottom.
Just an FYI, Freddie didn't fly out to DC because of his ankle "flare-up" (don't you love how they call Freddie injuries "flare-ups"?). Also, the head honcho has repeatedly said that they won't be actively renegotiating contracts, ie Freddie's, in the middle of the season. The FO is determined to handle contracts at the end of the season. This seems like a smart move so that we make sure we have a good system before we tie anyone down, but this is not how you do contracts in Europe, and you can bet it has Freddie wondering where he could go in the immediate future. So, because Freddie knows he's free to focus on his playing and form, you can bet 100% he'll instead be distracted thinking about rejoining Thierry. At the same time, it doesn't mean the FO is completely closed off on offers if something else pops up. Like a new/2nd DP making his way to Seattle.
I'm working on a shortlist of players I think we could use. Be back later. In the meantime, let's hope Henry and Blaise get good MLS showings in their friendlies.