Archive for the ‘Hamburg’ Category

Onyewu: I Deal With Reality

August 23, 2008

Standard Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu, seeming to be completely disgusted with the transfer process, told US reporters in Guatemala that “I only want to live in reality, and the reality of the situation is that I play for Standard. I enjoy it and what happens, happens.”

Meanwhile, the buzz coming from cognoscenti back in the States links Onyewu to Serie A side Catania, which is still looking to replace top defender Juan Manuel Vargas after selling him to Fiorentina. In what appears to be a late house cleaning, they also just sold defender Andrea Sottil to Rimini with three more midfielders and defenders on the auction block. The Sicilian club had a pretty porous defense last season and boss Walter Zenga is looking to shore up the back line.

Another coach looking to anchor the back line is Cologne boss Christoph Daum, who at one time was stalking Gooch like a teenager in puppy love. Its not clear now if Daum is still interested, given the club’s transfer focus on bringing in another attacking player.

All that said, I still think Onyewu will either stay at Standard to win another championship or he’ll be playing somewhere in France where there has been sustained interest in him since 2007. Plus, its hard to see tiny Catania outbidding PSG or Lyon, two of the bigger teams which still seem to be in the hunt. PSG was also looking at Dynamo Kiev’s Senegalese defender Pape Diakhaté, who is also being pursued by Monaco and Rennes (where Carlos Bocanegra is in desperate need of a quality partner in central defense). If Diakhaté ends up at PSG, perhaps Rennes will opt for Gooch, provided there is enough time left to make a deal – the clock is ticking. Two Americans at Rennes? Who knows.

Also when asked in Guatemala, Heerenveen’s Michael Bradley seemed mystified by the entire transfer process, telling US reporters: “I have no real idea what is going on but my agent tells me something may happen next week.” Greg Seltzer seems to think its Everton, Celtic, or Middelsbrough (a club which always seems to be linked to an American player but never seems to close the deal). Again, my spidey sense seems to indicate he’ll head be heading to Germany (Bayer Leverkusen?) but probably not Hamburg which found its replacement for Van Der Vaart in Mladen Petric, just purchased from Borussia Dortmund. In about a week, we’ll know the answer for sure.

There have also been whispers here on the boot that a few Serie B teams have taken an interest in Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni but its not clear if any of them are in a position to acquire him now or wait until mid season, when he would be available on a free transfer. Back in July, Serie A side Cagliari had also taken a discreet interest in Mastroeni but given the club’s modest budget, they may also be waiting for midyear.

Elsewhere today, American Jozy Altidore replaced Giuseppe Rossi in the 67th minute of Villarreal’s preseason match against Italy’s Udinese. Altidore’s side lost 1-0.

NOTE: In case you are waiting for the fourth and final installment of The Evolution of American Soccer Players in Europe, I’m waiting for the smoke to clear on this transfer season before finishing it up.

Hamburg: Renewed Interest In Bradley

August 8, 2008

Now that Rafael van der Vaart has been sold to Real Madrid, Hamburger SV is shopping for an attacking player to fill the gap. Both the Hamburg press and Kicker report that the two main candidates are Spartak Moscow striker Roman Pavlyuchenko and Heerenveen’s attacking midfielder Michael Bradley (currently in China playing for the US Olympic team).

Hamburg coach Martin Jol has made it clear that he isn’t looking for a project, but rather a player who is ready to contribute now. He told Kicker: “In this market its not easy…”but its clear, I want a player who is ready – otherwise its a joke.”

Hamburg president and German soccer legend Uwe Seeler seemed to favor bringing in the Russian when he told “What we’re missing up front is a crusher, a poacher, someone who can bring pressure all on his own.”

But Hamburg officials also admitted that Pavlyuchenko may be too difficult to acquire, in particular since the Russian is being courted by Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham; all with deeper pockets than the Bundesliga club. Bradley may be a bit easier to acquire, provided Hamburg is willing to match or exceed Monaco’s reported $13 million transfer offer.

A Humbling Weekend For Serie A Powers

August 4, 2008

You saw it on Italian newsstands everywhere today under somber headlines; Chelsea 5 : AC Milan 0 , Hamburger SV 3 : Juventus 0. Never mind that these were meaningless preseason friendlies in which coaches experimented with new players and different lineups – Italian football had been shamed.

AC Milan took its lumps in the Railway Cup tournament held in Moscow on an astounding four-goal performance by Cheleas’s Nicolas Anelka. The Premiership side took the lead in the second minute on a Frank Lampard free kick, which Milan keeper Zeljko Kalac could not stop.
Anelka’s romp started in the eighth minute with a successful long range shot then caught Kalac out of position to tally his second not ten minutes later. Anelka’s two second half goals came thanks to assists from fellow Frenchman Florent Malouda, nodding home a cross in the 51st then tapping in another cross from the winger seven minutes later.

Juventus figured it would fare better in the Emirates Cup after just beating Arsenal 1-0 but a weak first half against Hamburg saw them dig a hole they could not claw their way out of. The unavailability of Jorge Andrade and other defensive injuries have left the Old Lady looking pretty old in the back. Some well-taken early shots by Hamburg were easily saved by Antonio Chimenti but a defensive error by Nicola Legottaglie in the 18th minute allowed Jose Paolo Guerero to slot a left-footed shot in for Hamburg’s first goal.

An unfit Mauro Camorenesi tried to rally Juve in the attack but the Torino-based side struggled to support the ball in forward areas. An early second half knee injury to Juve defender Dario Knezevic did not help matters and Christian Molinaro also had to be taken out due to injury.

Nonetheless, Juventus looked more lively in the second half and Amauri nearly scored on an header which was stopped by Frank Rost. Later Claudio Ranieri inserted Vincenzo Iaquinta, who muffed an easy chance before Hamburg struck again on two late goals from Croatian Ivica Olic to make it 3-0 Hamburg.

It seems more than a few Serie A teams are still looking for defensive help as unfilled roster spots and recent injuries are depleting the back lines of several teams. Among those still looking for help in central defense are Fiorentina, Genoa, Inter, Lazio, Siena and Udinese.

American on Trial At FC Union Berlin

July 17, 2008

I’ve always wanted to see an American playing for FC Union Berlin again (since Ryan Coiner left in 2005) and soon it may be possible. Union is one of the über-cool rock and roll teams that may not always be successful, but has a pretty hip band of supporters (not unlike FC St Pauli).

This week, according to the Sächsiche Zeitung, former Cal Bears standout Steven Purdy is on trial for a position in central defense with the third division side. The 23-year-old Purdy played this past season with the 1860 Munich reserves and has competition for the position during the trial. German-Iranian Sasan Gouhari, a 22-year old defender from the Hamburger SV reserves is also on trial with Eisen Union.

A decision between Purdy and Gouhari was supposed to be announced after testing them both in a preseason match against SC Borea Dresden on Tuesday. While the game ended 1-1, Purdy was given partial blame for Borea’s goal by Robert Koch while Gouhari reportedly did not fare much better during his appearance in the second half. So far, no announcement has been made on which player has been selected.

Monaco: Ready To Punt On Bradley?

July 17, 2008

As I suspected in an earlier report this morning, Michael Bradley is looking ever less likely for a move to AS Monaco. The club is now indicating that their main target for an attacking midfielder is Alejandro Alonso of Bordeaux. This means they won’t need to up the ante for Heerenveen’s Michael Bradley unless they can’t snare Alonso.

According to Ouest France, ASM is now interested in negotiating for the 26-year old Argentine who is under contract with his current club until 2009. A few Spanish clubs are also interested in Alonso so Monaco may be keeping the Bradley deal on the back burner. With four goals in 80 appearances, Alsonso is not quite the goal scoring threat that Bradley is but he does come with a good understanding of the French game, UEFA Cup experience, and (most likely) a lower price tag.

Of course, this could just be a negotiating tactic by Monaco to make Heerenveen drop their price for Bradley but its hard to tell at this point. The club does however think it can strike a loan deal for Benfica’s American midfielder Freddy Adu within the next week or two.

So, while all this speculation on Bradley has everyone looking to the south of France or England, I have a feeling he’ll end up at either Hamburg or Bayer Leverkusen – either would be a good fit given his style of play and level of development.

Feilhaber, Five Others Out At Derby County

July 11, 2008

Derby County is conducting a housecleaning this year bringing in nine new players and letting go of six, including American midfielder Benny Feilhaber. After his $2 million transfer to Derby County from Hamburg, Feilhaber has only played in ten matches (nine as a sub) since last August due to injuries.

Feilhaber is now in danger of catching the disease many Americans abroad have fallen to; lack of playing time and a spate of injuries making them less marketable to other clubs. Still, there are some who remember Feilhaber’s performances in the Maccabiah Games, the Bundesliga, and in his 15 caps for the US team.

While his agent is probably working overtime to find him a club, it seems a few options may be available. First, he could always return to Hamburg on a free transfer since Derby looks like it is releasing him, Secondly, given the desperate situation at FC St Pauli, he could fit in and join the starting 11 pretty quickly. And finally, Maccabi Tel Aviv was interested in him back in January so, if they are still interested, they may be able to get him for a bargain.