As first revealed by The Original Winger, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is currently training with West Ham United of the English Premier League. The Seattle Sounders confirmed that it's a one-week training session that was coordinated by the team and Alonso's agent. As of yet, there's no talk of this being a formal trial.
That hasn't stopped hearts from racing, though. This is the second time in three years that Alonso has trained in England, with him doing something similar with Everton in 2010. The idea of him going overseas is hardly far-fetched.
Alonso, as we well know, is the elite ball-winner in MLS. In addition to his tenacious style, he's also developed a decent passing game and a quality shot. Across all competitions, he scored five goals and had five assists and earned himself MLS Best XI honors this year.
At 27 years old, he's still got at least a few good years ahead of him, too. But if he's going to make the jump to Europe, now is probably the time. One needs to look no further than 26-year-old former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza's recent signing with Wigan for proof that MLS is producing the kind of player that England desires. Like Alonso, Espinoza is an elite ball-winner with a much improved passing game.
The big difference between the two is international experience. Espinoza has become a regular with Honduras, making their 2010 World Cup team and starring in their most recent run into the Olympic quarterfinals. That made obtaining a UK work permit a relative slam dunk.
Alonso, who recently obtained his United States citizenship, has not made an international appearance since defecting from Cuba in 2007. It is unclear how that would affect his case.
The good news is that if Alonso were to transfer, it's a fair bet that the Sounders would be able to recoup the full $650,000 in allocation dollars. That money would make salary cap compliance rather straight forward this year and open the door for some very interesting signings.