Ten MLS players who are European transfer targets

Kenny Cooper (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

For those of you who missed it, here is a piece I wrote for ESPN.com this morning on ten top MLS transfer targets this winter. It is a group of ten MLS players who European clubs could and very likely will make moves for when the January transfer window opens up.

The list isn't based strictly on talent, it's not meant as a "Top 10 most-deserving transfer targets", but rather a list that takes into account performance, contract status, reported interest from abroad and interest from abroad that I have heard about through the MLS grapevine.

Will all 10 players that I mention leave MLS? That would be disastrous and very unlikely, but I do think we could see at least half of that list depart this winter. Any more than half would make it a terrible winter for MLS. That said, there isn't a player on that list whose departure would surprise me.

What do you think of the list? What MLS player or players do you see leaving for Europe this winter?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, Major League Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Ten MLS players who are European transfer targets

  1. Zach says:

    Ummm, Ives, you seem to have left off the actual list. However, I can see Kenny Cooper will be on it. This is great, I hope he transfers. He needs that type of international experience to be a better option for the USMNT in World Cup 2010

  2. beckster says:

    I haven’t forgiven DC United for trading Boswell. That was a huge mistake and the replacements were dreadful but I just don’t see him making a mark in Europe. Boswell could develop into a really great MLS player but I think he would have trouble with the speed and decision making required abroad. That being said, he is dirt cheap and the money abroad has to look great.

  3. Zach says:

    Oh, I see. We have to click on the link you provided 😛

  4. docsoccer says:

    The frist six need to go for the national team, thats whats important.

  5. Isaac says:

    They all sound correct and although you say them all moving to Europe is unlikely, I wouldn’t be too shocked for it too happen. Though MLS is always going to be a factor and I think they’ll be as willing to share their players as Freddy Adu is willing to share the ball.

  6. zach says:

    they should all go to gain valuable experience for the Nats. The MLS will survive and have new talent shine. The list of defenders is a good one, hopefully they will prove strong in international leagues so we can have more back ups for the nats with injuries and age taking a few of them away.

  7. KingSnake says:

    Transfers out are not a disaster, but a source of funds to bring fresh, new players in, and are part of a healthy personnel eco-system. Having nothing but players from the USA/MLS is like marrying only within your own family, and with much the same result …

  8. KingSnake says:

    Transfers out are not a disaster, but a source of funds to bring fresh, new players in, and are part of a healthy personnel eco-system. Having nothing but players from the USA/MLS is like marrying only within your own family, and with much the same result …

  9. SayervilleFC says:


    Not to nitpick, but Ryan Nelsen was never actually MLS Defender of the Year.

    He was Best XI in 2003 and 04 but those years the DoY were Bocanegra (who also won it in 02) and Robin Fraser (who also won it in 99).

    It is interesting to see that if Boswell, Parkhurst and Marshall all go abroad this winter that almost every recent DoY will be in Europe.

    Shows that MLS doesn’t value its defenders enough to keep them.

  10. Tim says:

    beckster- You have to remember that he was playing terrible at the time for DCU, and he was a benchwarmer. Also, DCU needed a keeper really bad because Troy Perkins was leaving, and at the time Zach Wells was a well-respected back up.

    IVES- If Podolski stays in Bayern, then will that effect the Donovan loan at all? And say Donovan becomes an important part of the sqaud, is there anyway he will be able to stay at Bayern for the rest of the season or maybe become a permnant member? Will there be a clause?

  11. Bacalao says:


    I’ve said so before. You in the media, and we as fans, need to contain our enthusiasms everytime a possible Euro transfer is being talked about. Not every move is even a logical, much less good fit. Parkhurst and Kljestan would be doing themselves a disservice if they were to sign with these squads in midling, feeder leagues. If they’re just going for the cash–understood. But I just don’t want to see them wind up isolated in these leagues where MLS players seem to go to die. For every Bradley that makes the transfer from Holland to the Bundesliga, there are 10 more Lee Ngyuens. Remember him? Exactly.

  12. A.S. says:

    Edson Buddle? Really?

    The guy is a poor man’s Eddie Johnson. I can’t believe any European side would want him.

  13. Chrös says:

    I’m glad Soccernet has guys like Ives and Jeff Carlisle on their site, but beyond that their lack of attention to domestic soccer is just terrible. Thank you to Ives for the info and for writing this, but I wish the guys at ESPN could at least proofread it and find the typo.

    Accidentally typing “bed” instead of “bet” isn’t a big deal on the smaller picture, but it’s just another sign of how terrible “The Sports Leader” is at covering MLS and USMNT (outside of the big-name columnists).

  14. AltiCooper says:

    I would be absolutely shocked to see Edson Buddle leave. This was his only really good season and clearly benefitted from playing along the likes of Donovan and Becks. Definetly agre with A.S. that he is a poor mans Eddie Johnson (not to mention hes older aswell)

  15. Quakes Nut Bobby says:

    Ives also typed “expending” instead of “expanding”. Give Ives a break, he is one of the better MLS media-types. He tends to be fair and balanced unlike Cavuto on Fox News. Keep on keepin on Brother!!

    P.S. Sasha leaving would be the best for him, best for USNT, and good for MLS (transfer fee). Now I could completely despise the goats!!!

  16. rocky says:

    It is what it is. The best US talent should do anything they can to play in top leagues in Europe. I do have a problem though with the growing trend of good MLS players going to leagues in scandenavia. When the CBA expires next year this should be a major priority. It is not out of reality for the league to up the salary cap enough so that MLS can try to be the best league of the americas and certainly pay more then scandenavian teams. The league doesnt need spend money to compete with the best teams in Europe thats to much of a risk, but its certainly exceptable for the league to challange the likes of the Mexican league and south american leagues, to be known as the best league in this hemesephire. Thus, the league needs to pay its core players so they dont go to Denmark. Lets hope the league wakes up and protects the core of this league, next year.

  17. eric says:

    I’m totally feeling the EJ/Edson Buddle comparisons, and I bet we’ll see Eddie Johnson put together some good seasons in his late 20’s (just not in the EPL).

    But what’s the big shock here? Buddle’s been in the wilderness for a couple of years, but his problem was always staying healthy. The guy put up 42 goals in 102 games by the time he was 24. He had great service this year, and you saw him finally playing a full season with confidence. He showed good touch and an aggressive attitude.

    I bet most people are pissed because 1) he had his worst year in NY in ’06, and 2) he’s good but not national team good. But those weren’t fluke goals he was scoring for the Gals this year.

  18. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Right now Edson Buddle is a much, much better player than Eddie Johnson. While he clearly benefited from playing with Donovan and Beckham, anyone who thinks he was solely the product of them simply did not watch the games. (And by the way, you need to know what to do with the service. Becks and Landon could do make Alan GOrdon even barely acceptable. Hell, surround him by Brazil providing service and he would still suck.) Back to Edson, he was never one-dimensional like Johnson, although he would get lazy and (alas) injured. This year, for the most part, he played like the way I thought he could when he came into the league.

    On the other hand, he’s not Josy Altidore either. But on the same team he would out perform Eddie and a few others beside.

  19. alex says:

    Someone is going to bid 1M for edson buddle? rofl, go cash that cheque!

  20. jloome says:

    Marv Wynne’s not ready to start in anything above League One, so he’s unlikely to go, despite the interest.

    He’s already said himself he expects to be here next year (although the club isn’t so sure), and it seems unlikely he’d change his mind given the strides he made under John Carver’s coaching next year. I know numerous clubs are interested but few are going to start him, which is what he’s looking for.

    Also can’t see Buddle going anywhere other than perhaps Scandinavia. Just not good enough. Parkhurst may go to Scandinavia as well, but his slight physique is going to work against him anywhere over there.Same might be true for now of Soumare, who has the size and strength but looks like a beanpole.

    Marshall, Cannon and Cooper definitely seem likely to go, with their teams victims of the salary cap. Klejstan will depend on the fee, because while he’s definitely one of the best midfielders in MLS, he’s nothing special by euro standards.

  21. eric says:

    And the biggest shocker on the list for me is Cannon. Are the Quakes really about to lose him because they got cheap??? Didn’t they watch how much worse off LA was???

    Argh, MLS keeps thinking that there are cheap keepers by the dozen to simply plug in, but the league is A LOT thinner at that position than it used to be.

  22. Jason says:

    I’m glad to see Buddle included.

    He’s got way more ability and skill than EJ (to whom he’s most often compared).

    His problem has always been desire.

    Though I think he needs to prove he can have a successful season when he’s the top priority for defenses, not 3rd banana.

  23. Ethan says:

    I agree with Tony in Quakeland. Buddle>Eddie Johnson.

    However, I still like to defend Alan Gordon, who had better numbers than Beckham given the time that he had. This isn’t to say that Gordon is a better player…he isn’t, and he screws up a LOT of good chances, but he still had 5 goals and 7 assists in about 14.5 games (minute wise). That’s not bad…

    Buddle 15 goals, 3 assists, in the equivalent of 24.5 games

    Gordon 5 goals, 7 assists in equivalent of 14.5 games games

    Beckham 5 goals, 10 assists in equivalent of 25 games

  24. beckster says:

    Tim, didn’t think he was that Boswell was that bad when he got benched…there were bigger problems…

  25. Slick says:

    Clint Mathis to Real Madrid! They are still searching for a Zidane replacement.

  26. A.S. says:

    “Clint Mathis to Real Madrid! They are still searching for a Zidane replacement.”

    Lol. That’ll happen right after Buddle signs on to replace van Nistelrooy.

  27. jmadsen says:

    Quakes Nut Bobby:

    The point he made wasn’t that Ives made some typos, it’s that ESPN couldn’t be bothered to have a proofreader look at it the way they would with a more “important” sport.

  28. A.S. says:

    Also, Edson Buddle better than Eddie Johnson? OMG.

    Johnson in 2007: 15 goals in 24 games, playing with Davy Arnaud and Sasha Victorine.

    Buddle in 2008: 15 goals in 26 games, playing with David Beckham and Landon Donovan.

    I can’t believe that people are actually making me defend Eddie Johnson. For shame.

  29. sean monaghan says:

    david beckham didnt do anything special this season…. ^^^

  30. eric says:

    One more thought – are we sure Robbie Rogers isn’t on the list of 10 most likely to leave?

  31. Jamie Z. says:

    Quakes Nut Bobby:

    The point he made wasn’t that Ives made some typos, it’s that ESPN couldn’t be bothered to have a proofreader look at it the way they would with a more “important” sport.

    Posted by: jmadsen | December 08, 2008 at 07:07 PM

    Actually, I’ve been amazed recently at some of the typos I’ve seen floating around major news sites; just a couple days ago, I caught SI.com using the term “pedals his wears.”
    But that’s not my only gripe with SI.com. — they clearly have no interest in, and respect for soccer above and beyond David Beckham’s celebrity status. One of their photo sections referred to an Udinese player as “the ref” (they were not being ironic) and a Copa Sudamericana match between San Luis and Argentinos Juniors as “Mexico vs. Argentina.” I mean, really, SI?

  32. yoman says:

    Moving to second rated Scandinavian, Danish, League is useless for the players skill, put good for their pockets….

    If they were really good, they would be going to PL, SerieA, Liga, etc.

  33. Evan says:

    Parkhurst is now confirmed to Denmark:

    link to fcn.dk

  34. George Griffin says:

    I’ll add one to your list: Jeff Larentowicz from the Revs. He’s big, a tough, smart DMF with a good nose for gaol and he’s put of contract. He’d do well in Norway.

  35. eric says:

    Jaime – that seems a little harsh on SI. The people in charge might be clueless, but writers like Luis Bueno, Jonah Freedman, Grant Wahl, and even the other Lalas are good writers, plus they run content from Soccer America. At the very least, they know soccer has an audience.

    Hopefully FC Nordsjælland make the UEFA Cup again, that would be good experience for Parkhurst.

  36. JK2 says:

    i didn’t see Edson Buddle play once this year and I can tell you the EJ vs. EB comparison that A.S. made is the correct one. if you were preparing to face a team that had landon donovan and David Beckham wouldn’t you focus on them? that opens up so much space and options for EB…

    that said, Eddie Johnson clearly can’t even hack it at the Championship level in England so its really a moot point.

    Marvel Wynn is more interesting to me. I think he would benefit greatly from another year in the MLS. I think hes got the physical tools (and he’s clearly been developing his footskills) to play in the EPL or some other such league. He reminds me of a less versatile Kolo Toure (though maybe stronger and faster).

  37. Nickel says:

    Read this artilce some team in france wants charlie davis.

    Read this artilce some team in France wants CHARLIE DAVIS.

    link to fotbollskanalen.se

  38. West says:

    I am hearing Stuart Holden linked to a move to the Netherlands, possibly Amsterdam.

  39. Lou says:

    It’s good for them if they go, but i mean with all the players leaving the league right now i don’t how much it can afford. It’s great that the mls is a good starter league and exporter of talent but we can’t keep trading our young guns away to typically unheard of Scandinavian teams and receive old past their prime players in return there is just no way that the talent or ticket sales will improve at that rate.