Archive for the ‘Heerenveen’ Category

Update: Michael Bradley to Borussia Moenchengladbach

September 1, 2008

Borussia Moenchengladbach sports director Christian Ziege has just confirned that American Michael Bradley may spend the next few seasons plying his trade at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Ziege told the Rheinisher Post that Bradley is a “dangerous, versatile player but also a classic playmaker. He may be young be mentally, he is much farther along.” Further details of the transfer deal are not yet available.

Bradley was in Moenchengladbach today for his unveiling and he is expected to arrive permanently on Thursday. With just two days on the ground prior to Saturday’s match against fellow American Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96, he is not expected to suit up for Gladbach until their home match against Hertha Berlin in two weeks.

With the transfer, Bradley will become the second American ever to have played for the Bundesliga side after goalkeeper Kasey Keller spent a few productive years at the club.
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Monaco: Still Interested in Bradley?

August 26, 2008

Yet another twist in the Bradley transfer saga as the deadline approaches in just five days. After there seeming to be much interest from Monaco for Heerenveen’s American midfielder Michael Bradley a few weeks ago, they then focused on Betis Seville’s Marko Babic as a new offensive option. This morning here in Europe, word has come out on Footmercato.fr that ASM has not agreed terms on Babic and is now taking another look at bringing Bradley on board.

Looking over at the state of play on Standard Liege’s American defender Oguchi Onyewu, PSG looks less likely as an option as word came out last night that the Paris side wants to acquire defender Jean-Alain Boumsong from Olympique Lyon.

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.

(Updated) Connecting The Dots: Ronaldo’s Effect on Bradley Transfer Prospects

July 30, 2008

(MUNICH, July 29th, 2008) Today Real Madrid made it clear that they are no longer interested in signing Dutch ace Rafeal Van Der Vaart from Hamburger SV as an alternative to Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo. According to Real President Ramón Calderón, its Ronaldo or no one – they think their 85 million euro bid may still be workable.

Hamburg had been considering signing Heerenveen’s American midfielder Michael Bradley in the event Van Der Vaart was sold to Real Madrid for an estimated 12 million euros. Unless another club swoops in for Van Der Vaart, Bradley’s door to Hamburg appears to be closing.

Bradley has voiced a desire to play in England where Middelsbrough and Everton are keen to sign him but little is known of any negotiations taking place with the Premiership clubs. Interest in recent weeks has also been coming from continental clubs such as Bayer Leverkusen and AS Monaco (which reportedly offered 8.5 million euros). Leverkusen appears to be cooling on Bradley as their prime target for attacking midfield is now Fluminense’s Thiago Neves (who is also being pursued by Tottenham Hotspur). So, With Bradley’s Bundesliga options appearing to narrow, it now looks like his main options are in England or on the Cote d’Azur with AS Monaco.

UPDATE: After several statements from Real Madrid (which appeared in the Spanish Marca and Financial Times Deutschland), that the club had written off Van Der Vaart as an option, it now appears the Dutch midfielder may be on his way to the Bernabeu after all. The “off the table” language used by Real President Ramon Calderon not two days ago (in their game of financial chicken with Hamburg) has been replaced by statements that indicate a deal is near. Now, papers such as Die Welt, and Focus are commenting on the 180 by Calderon asking whether it was all to get the price he wanted or a power play with a club Real does not see as their equal. Either way, you fooled us Mr. Calderon!

What this means is that Hamburger SV remains a viable option for Bradley but now another door appears to be closing. Word out of Monaco this afternoon is that they agreed on terms to acquire Bordeux’s midfielder Alejandro Alonso (believed to be their plan B if Bradley was too expensive). So, Bradley’s options remain open in England and Germany but Monaco now seems to be off the list. Still, much could change in the next few weeks as the dust starts to clear on another transfer season.

Monaco Still After Bradley

July 23, 2008

According to Le Parisien, now that a deal to bring Freddy Adu to the Rock is sealed, Monaco boss Jerome De Bontin is now focused on signing Heerenveen starlet Michael Bradley. Recent reports from Le Figaro and Nice Matin indicated that Monaco had offered €8.5 million euros for the high scoring American midfielder but that Heerenveen was demanding a price closer to €10 million. Previous reports had Middelsbrough offering circa €5 Million while Germany’s Bild had Bayer Leverkusen’s offer at €4.5 million.

With only 20 days left until the French transfer deadline, Monaco will need to resolve the Bradley transfer soon. If they cannot afford Heerenveen’s asking price, they’ll need the time to sign another attacking midfielder – namely Bordeux’s Alejandro Alonso from Argentina.

A few Spanish clubs are also interested in Alonso so Monaco may be keeping him on the back burner until they know the outcome of their Bradley gambit. 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.

It remains to be seen whether another club is able or willing to match Monaco’s offer for the 20-year-old American and whether Heerenveen will accept it. The Stade Rennais FanZine Da’Squad mentions that Bradley is among the options the club (which recently signed Carlos Bocanegra) is considering to fill a hole at attacking midfielder.

Either way, if the leaks and rumors turn out to be true, he could be the most expensive American player ever which (at today’s exchange rates) would price his transfer at circa $13.7 million. This would surpass the previous record of $10 million Spanish side Villareal paid for the New York Red Bulls’ Jozy Altidore just over one month ago.

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.

Heerenveen to Keep Bradley – Yeah Right!

July 9, 2008


Yesterday a club spokeman at Heerenveen mentioned that the club may decide to keep the 20-year-old instead of selling him for a reported €8.5 million. Don’t fall for it folks – this is just part of the transfer negotiating game. Bradley is in the last year of his contract so this is Heerenveen’s only chance to cash in. The only way they can keep him in summer 2009 is to offer him a pay package he can’t resist. The problem there is that the Dutch club won’t be able to match the kinds of offers Bradley is sure to receive from teams with deeper pockets.

So, it seems that this may be Heerenveen’s last effort to squeeze a bit more money out of the deal before they agree to terms. We presume that would be with AS Monaco but its never to late to count out the other suitors such as Bayer Leverkusen and Middelsbrough (or even another team).

Monaco Bid For Bradley Now €8.5 Million

July 7, 2008


It looks like Heerenveen is driving a hard bargain before it parts with leading goal scorer Michael Bradley. France’s Le Figaro is reporting that AS Monaco’s bid is now up to €8.5 million after being previously reported at €6 million. Over the weekend, The Mirror (UK) reported that Middelsbrough had bid circa €5 Million while Germany’s Bild had Bayer Leverkusen’s offer at €4.5 million. It remains to be seen whether another club is able or willing to match Monaco’s offer for the 20-year-old American. Either way, if this turns out to be true, he could be the most expensive American player ever which (at today’s exchange rates) would price his transfer at $13.7 million. This would surpass the previous record of $10 million Spanish side Villareal paid for the New York Red Bulls’ Jozy Altidore only one month ago.