Archive for the ‘Belgium’ Category

Onyewu To PSG In June?

January 4, 2009

As the long-running Oguchi Onyewu transfer saga becomes closer to achieving War and Peace epic status, the strongest links remain with French clubs. We’ve all seen recent statements from Standard Liege that he is not for sale this winter and after the club just pocketed 20 million euros to send Maroune Fellaini to Everton and appears set to make another 10-12 million euros in selling Milan Jovanovich, who can blame them?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Marseille’s defensive needs are immediate and they are looking for a fix in January to battle for a Champion’s League spot. They’ve got their eyes on Fiorentina’s Da Costa but may not be able to outbid his other suitor, Juventus. So, if Standard is unwilling to sell Onyewu now, L’OM may need to look elsewhere.

But Paris Saint-Germain seems a bit more patient and may be willing to wait until the summer to acquire the American defender. Some observers in Paris seem to think this may be the case but again, its all speculation until a deal is done.

My spidey sense tells me its a June move to either PSG or L’OM unless an English team (Fulham?) swoops in with an offer. Both one English observer and the always reliable Matthias Seidel estimate Onyewu’s transfer value at circa 4 million euros ($5 million).

Marseille Still Eying Onyewu

December 26, 2008

Olympique Marseille coach Eric Gerets is still keen to possibly sign Stantard Liege central defender Oguchi Onyewu. According to France Football, Gerets was at Standard’s recent UEFA Cup match against Sampdoria to observe Onyewu, who scored in his team’s 3-0 win.

Gerets is looking for help to strengthen his team’s central defense which has been a disappointment, despite the club’s current fifth place standing in Ligue 1. Their defensive softness was most vividly displayed last weekend in a 3-0 loss to Nancy. During that dismal performance, the central midfield and defense did not communicate well and L’OM was overall weak in one-on-one challenges. Observers have noted that this year’s edition of L’OM is strong on paper but mentally weak. The addition of Onyewu, a player Gerets referred to as “intense and strong” could be just what the team needs to challenge for one of the league’s top places this season.

Any move for Onyewu would likely be tied to the fate of central defender Ronald Zubar, a player once linked to Arsenal and Olympique Lyon but who has had a disappointing season. The trick for Gerets is whether he decides he can bring the once-promising French U-21 player back into form or sell him off and go after Onyewu.

But L’OM is also interested in Onyewu’s teammate Milan Jovanovich to strenghen their attack. So, talks between the two teams won’t necessarily mean that Gooch is in play although a package deal is remotely possible. With a price tage estimated at 12 million euros, Jovanovich may be too pricey for Marseille so they may settle for bringing in veteran striker Henrik Larsson from Helsingborg (for an estimated 5 million euros).

UEFA Cup: Gooch, Standard Crush Sampdoria

December 4, 2008


Standard Liege continues to punch above its weight this season, this time with a 3-0 win over Serie A side Sampdoria. With American defender Oguchi Onyewu anchoring a strong Standard defense while the Belgian side’s attack put the Genoa side under pressure early and often.

Igor De Camargo opened scoring in the 23rd minute on a header past Sampdoria keeper Luca Castellazzi, who was a busy man on the tonight. Just over ten minutes later, a De Camargo corner found Onyewu outleaping the rest to head the ball home for a 2-0 lead. Shortly before halftime, a left footed blast from Milan Jovanovic sent both teams to the locker room with the home side leading a 3-0.

Sampdoria had one good scoring chance in the second half but Marius Stankevičius’ shot buzzed just above the bar. Meanwhile Jovanivic and Dieudonné Mbokani continued to lead attacks on Samp’s goal but muffed some well set up chances. With both teams running out of steam, the match faded out like a 1970s pop record.

The win put Standard Liege into the final 32 knockout stage which starts on December 18th and 19th.

Photo courtesy of UEFA.

Gooch Plans To Surprise Liverpool

August 11, 2008

After scoring two goals over the weekend to help Standard Liege beat RSC Anderlecht 3-1 in the Belgian Cip over the weekend, Oguchi Onyewu has his sights on their next foe; Liverpool.

Onyewu told the Belgian press that he thinks Standard can surprise a team like Liverpool when he said “Now we must concentrate our Liverpool. There are always chances, I think nobody thought that Anderlecht would be eliminated but we surprised them.” He further told the national TV station RTBF that “In football sometimes the underdog can surprise you. Hopefully, we can do something on Wednesday to show what Belgian football is about.”

From the way Onyewu has comported himself the past few weeks, you would never know that he is perhaps on the verge of being transferred to a bigger European club. Regardless of whether he ends up at FC Koeln, Fulham, or somewhere in France or Italy, it seems he wants to go out of Liege with a bang. Standard will face Liverpool at home on Wednesday in the third round of Champion’s League qualifying.

A few quick hits from the weekend:

– Villarreal may be missing Giuseppe Rossi and Jozy Altidore in training but they can be proud that the pair has already scored a combined three goals in Olympic play.

– American defender Bryan Arguez did not play for Hertha Berlin in their 3-1 German Cup win over Trier this weekend.

– The US team played very well within themselves yesterday against the Dutch and coach Piotr Novak proved what a good tactician he can be with his adjustments and substitutions. The missed US chance near the end came back to haunt them after the Oranje equalized but the card collecting in the waning minutes was annoying. If anyone’s international stock rose yesterday, it was Sacha Kljestan and Freddy Adu (the AS Monaco discussion boards are buzzing already).

– I have a good feeling about the Nigeria game, when Altidore, Danny Szetela, and Benny Feilhaber will need to step up. The team is starting to gel and play with much more confidence. They seem to believe in their coach, his system, and each other – not a bad way to go into Wednesday’s match.

Gooch Goes Distance in Friendly Against Saint Etienne

August 3, 2008

American defender Oguchi Onyewu played a full 90 minutes for Standard Liege Saturday night in a 3-0 loss to French Ligue 1 side Saint Etienne. Despite the impending transfer of Onyewu, Standard coach Laszlo Boloni chose to use the Maryland native in the friendly.

This may indicate that he intends to use Gooch in the third round of Champion’s League qualifying against Liverpool starting August 12th. While this would “cup tie” Onyewu, making him unable to play in European matches the rest of the year, this may be a of little consequence since few of the teams interested in him are playing in the Champion’s League of UEFA Cup this season.

At the same time, a stout performance in a high profile match against the Reds may be just what he needs to get the offer he is looking for.

Gooch Picks Up A Second Passport

July 12, 2008


Friday in Brussels it was made official that Oguchi Onyewu is not only a US but also now a Belgian citizen. His naturalization, along with that of Standard teammate Mohamed Tchité was, made official in the Belgian government’s Bulletin of Acts, Orders and Decrees posted at the end of the week.

By picking up an EU passport, Onyewu makes himself more attractive to teams in countries with restrictions on the number of non-EU players which can be on the field at one time. In France, only four non-EU players can be on the pitch at the same time while five are allowed in Italy’s Serie A. The Spanish Primera allows only a maximum of three.

Meanwhile, FIFA has sought to apply such restrictions throughout Europe, although the European Union has sued the global soccer federation, citing violations of European labor law. Regardless, by picking up an EU passport, Onyewu has now removed a potential obstacle to moving to a bigger club this fall.

Onyewu: Interest from FC Cologne and Fulham

July 2, 2008


US defender Oguchi Onyewu is still drawing great interest from FC Cologne coach Christoph Daum but the German club also reports that they are facing competition from an English club which they did not identify. Later, Belgian soccer magazine Voetbal Belgie identified the club as (surprise, surprise) Fulham. Any transfer from Belgian champion Standard Liege, Onyewu’s current club, is expected to run 2.5-3 million euros.