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Searching For The Free Summer 2012

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Emile Heskey is now available to all comers. Would he be a perfect MLS target forward? (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Emile Heskey is now available to all comers. Would he be a perfect MLS target forward? (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
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This isn't really a rumor thread, because well there are thousands of "rumors" out there. Most of those rumors aren't rumors they are ideas and speculation of fit for a player and an organization with no backing besides the concept that a player fits with a certain team and is available (either free or with the salary structure of the organization adding talent). What this is is a place to track those ideas, that speculation and find new players who could be added to an MLS side, specifically the Seattle Sounders. Let's have them make sense - FREES are the easiest. Assume that transfer fees would be small. Adrian isn't going to be offering a billion dollars for Cristiano Ronaldo. Also, don't expect a huge move (though Seattle once added both Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez) without losing a player. Remember to add a DP the Sounders need to lose a DP or for MLS to change the rules again (this happens sometimes).

There isn't a lot of cap space, if any, either. Seattle is over-budget, though they do have roster room. With both Babayele Sodade and Josh Ford on the Injured List right now there are up to four two roster slots open. The MLS window this year opens Wednesday 27 June and closes a month later.

Teams will be adding talent. The Montreal Impact are adding at least one DP, maybe more (Michael Ballack, Seerdorf and Del Piero are on their short list). New York Red Bulls will probably add a DP to run the point of their diamond. Reinvention on the fly is typical in MLS, but here in Seattle don't expect a brand new side. It's a good team with small flaws. If a player or two are added they will fit into Sigi's Arrow and philosophy.

So who are some of those frees and low transfer value players out there?

The biggest of goals but not yet linked to MLS sides by rumor at this time is Didier Drogba. He'll be offered a lot more money to go to one of China's emerging superclubs, but the ability of maximize post-career dollars and be more active in charitable endeavors in his homeland may be able to sway him to come to America.

Canadian Junior Hoilett is now linked to Turkish club Galatasaray after spending time with Blackburn Rovers. There are also connections to Bundesliga teams. He's probably well out of reach for TFC, even if they offload a DP.

Consistently broken semi-Canadian Owen Hargreaves was linked to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the past. If an MLS team really wants a part time player who can score at will when on the field along with a bit of name recognition they could go for him. Michael Owen fits that exact same mold without being kind of Northern.

Aaron has often claimed that Emile Heskey is the perfect MLS target forward. He has the advantage of not being worth a DP level contract.

American defender Zak Whitbread, formerly of Norwich City, has health concerns. Somehow this quality English Championship level talent is never in the USMNT picture. If healthy he'd help an MLS team with defensive issues.

Marcus Hahnemann is again a free. Like all returning US National Team players (and players returning to MLS whose rights are not held by a team) he would have to go through Allocation Ranking. To review that order is based on the performance of all teams in the last season with a claiming team moving to the bottom and the rest moving up. Seattle did not acquire Montreal's ranking, but instead acquired Eddie Johnson AFTER he was taken by the Impact.

Down in the Championship there are many other players who have been released or whose contracts have come up. Up in the SPL the results of the Rangers situation is still being worked out, but Dom Cervi of Celtic is free now. Both of those English language leagues are generally judged to be about the level of MLS with very rare talents at the DP level.

There are tens of thousands of frees out there. Most at levels of player lower than MLS. Still there are possibilities of striking gold. If you don't search, you will not find.

Here's your chance to search for the perfect free (or cheap), to speculate, to dream.