Jermaine Jones is out of contract. Graham Zusi has a new one but could transfer after a strong showing at the World Cup. Brian Sciaretta examines how the tournament will effect those two and more.
THE WORLD CUP
June 13, 2014
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is underway in Brazil and aside from crowing a new champion, the tournament will also be a springboard for players to boost their careers at the club level.
The transfer window opens at the conclusion of the tournament, and while many top American players have signed fresh contracts within the past year, several could benefit from strong performances in Brazil. Here is a list of the likely candidates.
Jones is currently out of contract with Schalke after his loan to Besiktas in Turkey, the defensive midfielder will likely have a options due to his impressive resume at the club and international level.
Could MLS be an option? Perhaps, but his wages have been high in his last contract and MLS would likely need to offer something in the Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, or Landon Donovan range. That is hard to imagine happening for a player of his age, 32, or his position. It would take a spectacular World Cup for him to attract that interest.
It is more likely that Jones either returns to the Bundesliga or to the Premier League, where he enjoyed a strong season with Blackburn in 2011.
Would Zusi really move from Sporting Kansas City only a year after his contract extension? It is certainly possible if he has a very good World Cup. Zusi has been a loyal servant of Kansas City and MLS. He has helped elevate the club to an elite level, and he has been one of the faces of the league. He is happy in MLS but as his 28th birthday fast approaches, he could also realize that the opportunity to make a move abroad is narrow.
Like Zusi, Besler has been terrific in MLS but he is now likely a first-team starting central defender at the World Cup. He will have the opportunity to showcase his talents in Brazil. If he takes advantage of it, interest will surely follow. As a smooth passing left-footed central defender, he has a skillset that will attract attention.
John Anthony Brooks
Earlier this week, Sky Sports reported
that several Premier League clubs were expressing interest in Brooks at the World Cup. It seems like an odd move given that he is in a good situation at a mid-table Bundesliga club with Hertha Berlin. For a 21-year-old central defender, why move from that?
The reason for that could be money since Premier League teams pay very well. Still, it is hard to see this one making sense but stranger things have happened.
Beasley is set to become the first ever American player to play in four World Cups. That remarkable achievement will likely boost his profile among American fans. A move to MLS seems optimal at this time to return to the league where he began his career. He is one of the most iconic American players of all-time and playing in MLS would give him the opportunity to help build up the profile of domestic league.
Two other Americans who didn't make the World Cup roster could be on the move as well.
While he was one of the seven players cut from the World Cup preliminary roster, Boyd is one of the best American candidates to be on the move. After two strong seasons in the Austrian Bundesliga with Rapid Vienna, there is little for him to gain by returning for a third.
On Wednesday, the British tabloid Daily Mail reported
that Boyd and Wigan Athletic were in negotiations. That rumor makes some sense as Wigan has a German head coach in Uwe Rosler and it is easy to see Boyd thriving in the physical Championship.
It would also mark a step up for the 23 year old. After a youth career at Hertha Berlin and Borussia Dortmund, Rapid Vienna was his first time at the professional level. Wigan is a team that has the ability to contend for promotion and a move there would be smart if it materializes.
After a rough end to an otherwise solid run at Anderlecht, it appears as if Sacha Kljestan will be joining a new team. He has been with the Belgian club since 2010 and has won three consecutive titles. This past year he scored eight goals despite struggling for minutes in the second half of the season. That drought likely eliminated any chance he had of making the World Cup team.
Reports have linked him to the Los Angeles Galaxy and a return home to Southern California would make perfect sense. He went to Europe, won championships, and played in the Champions League. He could command a high wage in MLS, and would be a welcome addition to a team that is looking to add an American player in his prime.
Who would you like to see switch clubs? Who stands to benefit the most from a change of scenery? Share your take below.