Americans who need to make winter moves

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With January here, the winter transfer season is upon us and while the moves of big European stars will rule the headlines, there are a bunch of American players in dire need of loans or transfers this month.

You know it's not an ideal trend. Seeing so many European-based Americans recording 'Did not Play' and 'Did Not Dress' in our Americans Abroad section. For many of those players, a loan or transfer is absolutely imperative because another half season of sitting on the bench will hurt their careers and, for some, their national team standing.

Here is my Fox Soccer piece on five U.S. national team pool players who absolutely need loan or transfer moves this winter. Most of them are expected to move, but these aren't the only players who could potentially use a change of scenery.

It should also be noted that there are some players who people might think need moves, but who are better off staying put. Here is a look at some other American players who could make moves, players who could use moves and some players who are unlikely to move:

Eddie Johnson, Fulham

He garnered some playing time for the Cottagers thanks to a slew of injuries, but with Fulham forwards returning, Johnson has been pushed to the side again. It's probably time for him to pack it in and look for a new club.

Kenny Cooper, 1860 Munich

Having just recently recovered from a broken ankle, Cooper is back with an 1860 side he seemed destined to leave before being sidelined by a long-term injury. His career has hit the skids since leaving FC Dallas and you have to wonder if it's time for him to come back to MLS. Whether he comes back or not, you have to wonder how long he could last in Germany.

Eric Lichaj, Aston Villa

You might think it's crazy to include Lichaj on this list, but given Gerard Houllier's recent rant about Lichaj's mistakes in Aston Villa's loss to Manchester City, and Lichaj's subsequent benching, you wonder if he'll have a serious chance to play much the rest of this year. If he isn't, Lichaj could be well-served to go on loan. He had a pair of productive loan spells last year and needs to be playing. Of course, if Aston Villa sells Luke Young, Lichaj could wind up sticking around to provide cover.

Marcus Hahnemann, Wolverhampton

When you lose the starting job on the worst team in the English Premier League, it's time to move on. You figure Hahnemann will return to MLS eventually, and this winter is as good a time as any.

Jozy Altidore, Villarreal

Many U.S. national team fans are frustrated by the fact that Altidore doesn't see more playing time, but the fact remains he's on a top team in a top league and is still getting minutes, and in cup play, he's getting starts. The bigger concern is his lack of goals, but the fact that Altidore is still getting playing time suggests he is impressing Villarreal's coaches. With Brazilian star striker Nilmar sidelined by a knee injury, Altidore could benefit with even more minutes. In short, Altidore is in a good spot and doesn't need to go anywhere.

Michael Bradley, Borussia Moenchengladbach

When Bradley failed to make a transfer move last summer it was seen as a missed opportunity for a player who enjoyed an outstanding World Cup, and that feeling has only intensified as Bradley's club sits in the Bundesliga relegation zone. As much as Bradley would be better served to be on a better club, Moenchengladbach won't be selling in the middle of a relegation fight. Bradley is much more likely to move this summer, when he'll have just one year remaining on his contract.


Which players are you hoping make moves this winter?

Share your thoughts below.

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77 Responses to Americans who need to make winter moves

  1. Thor says:

    Can’t see Bradley moving until the Summer, plus he’s playing every match. Jozy could use a loan. Spector will probably be sold. Hopefully Houllier is axed so that Lichaj can stay where he, if not I would rather he get sold.

    I would also like to see Mo Edu move this Summer.

  2. OptimistPrimer says:

    Would love to see Feilhaber move to a bigger club/league this Winter

  3. CJ Brown says:

    didn’t see the Houllier rant vs Lichaj. Quotes anybody?

  4. maka says:

    he’s in the article ives linked to

  5. jmansor says:

    Did anyone ever think Gooch and AC Milan was going to work? Even without the injury I don’t think he wasn’t going to get much of a chance.

  6. Paul says:

    Assuming he’s still relevant, Freddy Adu needs to go somewhere — anywhere — where he can get minutes. I’d suggest MLS, but sadly, it may be that MLS has already passed him by. Scandinavia?

  7. Lorenzo says:

    I think Jozy has to (and will) stay at Villarreal to the end of the season. His career has been too chopped up, and I feel like he is where he should have been in 2008 instead of Xerez and Hull.

    Jozy should stay put, train hard and well, do the Gold Cup this summer, and if he isn’t really a part of their plans do a loan in the fall when La Liga starts back up, hopefully in Spain still.

  8. Matt Mathai says:

    I guess I’m confused. The article is entitled “Americans who need to make winter moves” and you include Jozy Altidore saying “In short, Altidore is in a good spot and doesn’t need to go anywhere.”

    Ditto, but less glaring, for Bradley.

    (SBI-The headline referred to the Fox story I wrote. After addressing that there’s a pretty clear distinction about what the players after the jump signify. I’ve clarified it a bit for anyone else who may not be able to keep up with that transition.)

  9. Lorenzo says:

    I saw it as a mixed thing. He played really well in Confed Cup. I thought he would sometimes start, sometimes not. Some games he really gets praised for, some games he is critized for and doesn’t see the field for a stretch of games.

    Kind of like Spector at West Ham, not a big success but not a failure either.

  10. Second City says:

    Only thing you forgot to do is sing kumbaya.

  11. otergod says:

    Jozy has actually stated that he likes where he’s at in his development. He says he’s improving daily with Villareal. Unless the club forces a move, he wont go anywhere.

    Not to mention with the current string of injuries, i cant see Villareal wanting to part ways anyhow

  12. Lorenzo says:

    I agree, but I also agree in including Altidore and Bradley because they are hot topics in the whole transfer/loan scheme and addressing their non-likely winter, but eventual moves in regards to the many who want to see those two move soon is appropriate.

    The title of the post is what is wrong here, but the content is good.

    I think Freddy Adu and Gale Agbossomunde would be good additions to this list. Maybe what the future holds to Mike Grella too. I am also interested to see if Jose F Torres makes a move (Spain?) to keep in consideration for a crowded midfield pool

    (SBI- The headline and lead of the post refers to my Fox Soccer column on that subject. I then go into discussing some other players who are popular topics when discussing Americans and potential transfers/loans.)

    Adu and Gale should also be on the list.

  13. Lorenzo says:

    I agree. Lots of people are talking about Agudelo not turning into a Freddy Adu or Jozy Altidore. But I can’t see why people think Altidore is in the category of Freddy Adu? Altidore rode out a full EPL season, and is now training hard, making sincere statements on developing and maturing for the long run, and earning mins at one of the best clubs in the world. Just b/c people are fed up that Altidore is not the next Ronadlo Phenomo doesn’t mean he is pissing off every club he touches.

  14. RK says:

    Yeah, it was confusing. I do agree that Jozy should stay, except that VCF is in the later stages of the Copa del Rey, and they play Valencia tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to see if Jozy starts, as Ruben/Rossi went yesterday.

  15. away goals says:

    Never saw gooch as a last 16 champions league caliber defender for milan. Or even a weekly fixture in serie a matches.

    Figured he was cover for an aging back line on a team involved in three competitions simultaneously. And his price was right.

    So, no, I didn’t think he would get much of a chance either. His injury may have cost him some domestic cup appearances though.

  16. Josh D says:

    Jozy has to stay in my opinion. He’s finally found stability at a club and getting some minutes here in there – from here it’s up to him to earn more, the coach is giving him a chance.

    Too many of our young players bounce around teams trying to get more minutes instead of working hard to earn those minutes at a proper club.

  17. Sandtrout says:

    This is the official start of a rumor I’ve come up with: Stuart Holden is transferring from Bolton. To where, I don’t know. I thought of it because of his unexplained “injury” that came on as soon as the transfer window opened. Probably bogus, but who knows?

  18. DaMa says:

    If it was confusing, you need to work on your reading comprehension. The article is very clear that he will be setting forth some players who people think may need to move, but he doesn’t.

  19. DaMa says:

    Do you REALLY think that a Bolton team that actually has a chance to earn a European spot is going to transfer it’s reasonably priced starting central midfielder? Really? For the record, as I recall, he was injured in the prior match. Not much of a mystery

  20. away goals says:

    General question for those of you calling for bench-warming americans to return to mls:

    Is that kind of loan feasible for euro-based players still under contract? Wouldn’t their higher wages prohibit mls squads from taking them?

    For players out-of-contract, doesn’t a return to mls come with a ridiculous paycut?

    I honestly have no idea what the financial differences are. I just assume there’s a significant wage gap between europe and mls.

  21. matt says:

    I’m actually a fan of Spector, he works hard, wins his headers, and has nice ball control skills for a bigger guy, but after seeing most of West Hams games the last few seasons I am positive that he is not a prem level player… Grant gave him a couple starts in CM after the Man U surprise, and in my view he played poorly in both, he is a very poor passer, and constantly takes 1 too many touches.. add that to some substitutions appearances at LB where he could not complete a single pass, and I’m not sure he’s been treated so unfairly… I’d like to see him move to a lower level and play center back

  22. Eric K says:


  23. Sandtrout says:

    If I’m right, though, you owe me a million dollars.

  24. Jaurs says:

    Charlie Davies is another. Even though he’s been rehabbing and playing reserve matches, he doesn’t look like he’ll come off the bench for a while … and it may be personal. Sochaux management made a comment about his maturity when he had a row with the physio over his fitness prior to WC. Then when he had the speeding incident they made another comment of disappointment in his character. He may have ruffled feathers internally.

    He also has competition from new strikers, especially Brown. There’s little chance Davies will regain his starting role.

  25. wilyboy says:

    I don’t think Gooch’s future at AC Milan was that defined. We all knew it was going to be difficult for him to break the starting lineup, but with an aging backline and few worthy prospects, it looked like a reasonable time.

    Probably the biggest thing to remember is Gooch took the risk and went for it, breaking new ground for US players. Would it have been better for him in hindsight to go to Ajax? Probably. But it was a historical stepping stone, and US players can’t be afraid of opportunities like these.

  26. Hood Rich says:

    No. If you saw his play during the Newcastle loan stint and the AC Milan friendlies in the USA, you would have your answer.

  27. Hood Rich says:

    It’s sad that Freddy is tweeting everything about his life these days but soccer.

  28. Craig says:

    Carlos Vela to Bolton on loan, that is what I want.

  29. Rory says:

    Wait, wasn’t Lichaj’s mistakes created when the midfielder blew his assignment on the City players?

    No wonder Villa’s in the tank, their coach is irrational.

  30. Rory says:

    Adu Time: 23 Minutes.

    You’re slipping Adu lovers.

    Look on the bright side, since Colorado traded Mehdi Ballouchy they have an opening for a very frustraiting to watch slight player who can show promises then be knocked off the ball at the last moment.

  31. 20 says:

    He was injured against Chelsea…. there is no chance Holden goes anywhere, he’s clearly preferred to Mark Davies

  32. Jeremy says:

    I think that CD9 needs to at least go out on loan. Get some playing time and see where the chips fall at the end of the season.

    Kenny Cooper can thank his dad for where he career has gone over the last couple of years. Talk about a players value dropping to about nothing.

  33. Rory says:

    I’d say there’s a chance that Owen Coyle jumps to Liverpool and takes Holden with him a second time!

    Now see, that’s a rumor!

  34. Bob says:

    This story is not complete without mentioning Eddie Johnson. Perhaps he can transfer to the Minnesota adult co-ed YMCA league. Hopefully, with some hard work, he could break the starting lineup for one of those teams.

  35. Rory says:

    Generally, yes there is a wage difference. However, the Red Bull organization could sign a player to Salzberg then loan them to the MLS with Salzberg paying most of the wages. Of course this would assume that Red Bull thinks it would be worth it to see their boys in the MLS Cup but I’m not really sure that compares to the boost they get internationally from showing Theirry Henry in their jersey anyway.

  36. Rory says:

    Remember when everyone was arguing over whether Cooper or Casey was a better replacement for Ching on the national team?

    Neither made it, but at least Casey now has an MLS ring.

  37. Rory says:

    “hard work’? Anyway…

    Eddie should be a warning for other MLS players that just because you get hot for a few months doesn’t mean that you belong in Europe (looking at you Edson Buddle!).

  38. kelly says:

    altidore is the fifth striker on a team which only plays south american players. He has not adapted to their style of play.He has to go into a system which suits him. He is too slow for that system and he does not flow with other players. He seems to be confused with the style of play. He needs to go a team like Stoke fc and become target man.

  39. away goals says:


  40. KFree says:

    i believe there is a significant gap at the median and below payscale when comparing MLS (top flight USA) and top flight UK and continental Europe.

    for example, not sure what demerit worked out but if he took a paycut moving to vancouver form watford (2nd tier) I don’t think it was significant. should eddie johnson return to MLS, he will need to adjust the life he has become accustomed to in west london.

    do i have this wrong?

  41. Leo says:

    The quote was “nightmare”, referring to Lichaj’s game.

  42. Leo says:

    Anyone can go anywhere at any time, if the price is right.

    Sometimes teams capitalize on a player if their upside potential appears to be high. Buy low, sell high, isn’t that the American way?

    If a team wants Stu badly enough and they’re willing to throw enough cash Bolton’s way, he’s out the door. Period.

  43. Leo says:

    For the love of everything holy, I wish people would get off of Altidore’s jock!

    The kid is what, 21, 22? What striker is world class at the age of 21?

    Messi? Aguero? Bojan, arguably? You could throw Vela in there, but by then it’s crystal clear that you’re really straining the definition of world class.

    Let the guy develop for a few years. If by Brazil he turns out to be a bum, clip his strings and start sticking your knives in the next new kid on the block.

  44. SwerveZ says:

    I’d buy that.

  45. SwerveZ says:

    You gotta also figure in what his attitude is like playing back there and how his chemistry is with the team/coach. It could be awful! This is his worst year by far, so I think it’s just a lack of respect for that team/coach and he wants to bolt. Did you not see his game against Man U at center mid??? Blind if you think he played horribly…or you didn’t watch it all.

  46. away goals says:

    Does it have to be a warning? Maybe it’s a lesson the other direction. If you can just get hot for a couple of months, you can sign with a top flight european club.

    Whether he belongs there or not, he’s making a lot more money than he would stateside. Athletics as a livelihood has a very narrow window of opportunity. Get yours while you can.

  47. SwerveZ says:

    Spector’s natural position from back in the day until recently has been an attacking player.

  48. SwerveZ says:

    that’s a good idea!

  49. SwerveZ says:

    But isn’t it like Lynn Swann taking ballet lessons while he was an NFL wide receiver? If his feet weren’t fast and nimble before, they sure were after! Same with that type of training Altidore is getting…He’s learning a very quick style and that’s a good thing. Question is; how long does he stay?

  50. dc101 says:

    Vela? world class?? sure whatever you say, this is a guy who doesnt start or rarely plays for arsenal unless they are up by 3 goals, and a player who rarely starts for his national side, and did squat at the world cup, is there something in training that shows that he is world class?

  51. Second City says:

    Edu moving to an EPL club this year would be fantastic.

    I’d also love to see a listing of the not-so-prominent (young) Americans that are plying their trade abroad and met with “DNP’s”.

    Cervi, for instance, is a player that could do quite well from playing in his own domestic league. Developing & then making the jump with something on his resume.

    The fact that Cervi, in some circles, is highly rated and yet can’t get a match on a bottom-feeder in the SPL of all leagues…should serve as a reminder to young Americans that making the jump, for the sake of making the jump isn’t always smart for ones career.

    I’d love to see our American’s cut their teeth in MLS, get some professional experience and development and then make the jump.

    Not saying it can’t be done the opposite way (ie, Lichaj) but I think there is a good argument for the other trend: Holden, Edu, Dempsey, etc.

    More recently: Ream, Bornstein, Agudelo & Burnbury.

    Plus, it’s a bonus for American fans to see the up & comers of our national pool.

    Obviously ambition is warranted and money talks but I’m just saying. I guess in a perfect world we’d see the route I’m suggesting.

  52. Freegle says:

    As far as loans, I’ve read that MLS will not accept loans of players from overseas into the league unless there is an option to buy clause in the loan agreement. If that is indeed true (Ives?) I’m sure that demotivates a lot of loans to the MLS, regardless of salary differences.

  53. Memories...dey'b'gone. says:

    They aren’t “slipping” it’s because it appears to be an actual suggestion.

    Not the tongue-in-cheek mentioning that you’re trying to placate to and be funny.

    Speaking of funny, that “Adu-Time” hasn’t been funny since the first week you and others tried to make it funny…which was around the time Saved By the Bell was still pumping out new episodes.

    Let it go, Rory. Find something else to be funny about or “that guy” who is witty.

  54. Paul says:

    Wow — I seem to have started a little argument. For the record, I’m not an Adu lover, or hater, but just a fan still trying to figure out how he fell off the edge of the football world, and whether he’ll ever make it back. Odd to be talking about a comeback for someone so young.

  55. tnnelson says:

    that’s pretty ridiculous for him to say. lichaj was in bad situations because he was covering for blown assignments from midfielders and from the two centerbacks. while he definitely had a few mistakes, they could have happened to a veteran defender and were really more his teammates’ faults than his own

  56. Louis Z says:

    good point made. I always hear this club is not good for this person etc. how about the player improving enough to crack in the lineup?

  57. Louis Z says:

    there goes the age factor again. we should be talking about how much he has improved (if any) in the years that he has been getting professional training. Have a seeing progress? yes, I think he hold way better, what he hasn’t improved at all is his finishes. either airial or ground.

  58. Sandtrout says:

    Which better-funded club (than Bolton) needs an attacking center midfielder? That’s the one I’m betting on!

  59. Jack says:

    I’d add Feilhaber to this list too.

    Agree that Bradley isn’t going anywhere this winter. His club is going to be fighting relegation for the rest of the season and they’d be stupid to sell one of their best players.

    I personally have been a fan of Spector’s for awhile. I think that the “versatility” that he’s always lauded for has actually been his downfall. He was trained to be an attacking midfielder and ended up on defense because that’s where the US and Sir Alex needed him. Fast forward a few years and we have his performance against Man U a few weeks ago, where it was pretty evident that the back line is probably not Spector’s place. Grant is obviously not a fan of his, but I feel like, with the right environment and manager, Spector could become a really awesome player.

    And I’m glad that someone agrees with me about Eric Lichaj. Houllier made it pretty clear with that inappropriate rant that he won’t be doing Lichaj any favors at Villa. And, unfortunately, it seems like Houllier is going to be sticking around for at least the rest of this season. Unless Villa sells Luke Young, I would really like to see Lichaj either loaned out to or sold to another club. He’s still working on his consistency, but I think that he’s proven that he has some incredible potential at right back.

  60. jts says:

    I alsways thought Rossi was American

  61. Laughable says:

    Agudelo should play regularly in MLS before considering anything else. That’s something he’s yet to do.

  62. RedLine55 says:

    I’m with you “away goals”. And it’s not like all these players are just picking up checks and sitting at home while their skills plummet. They are always getting better just by being with these much better teams. If you don’t need to be in the papers and all the websites every day, might as well get paid a ton in this short time and improve as a professional athlete. That especially goes for now when there is another 3 years until WC considerations come around.

  63. Jack says:

    I would be reeeeeeeally surprised if Bolton sold or loaned Holden this January. Holden is an integral part of their success this season–you can definitely see it in the way that the midfield plays when he’s not there–and Coyle is obviously pretty attached to him. However, depending on how this season goes, I suppose that I could see some bigger clubs possibly interested in him in the summer. Bolton needs money and, with the way that Holden has developed (not to mention the fact that he was absolutely free), he could probably have a very nice price tag.

  64. Seriously says:

    Coulda fooled me.

  65. eurosnob says:

    Kelly, you’ve lost credibility when you said “a team which only plays south american players.” Rossi, who is Villareal’s starting striker, is certainly not a “south american player.” By the way, Altidore started several Europa league games for Villareal and came of the bench in the latest La Liga match. With the season-ending injury to Nilmar, his playing time should only increase.

  66. mikeandike says:


    so basically half our USMNT that are playing in top-tier leagues needs to move somewhere else to get playing time, right?

    Gooch, Spector, Lichaj need to go elsewhere- only Dolo and Boca are in stable situations…

    Jermaine and Benny need to move- Holden, Edu are assured of top-flight minutes next year, while even Dempsey and Bradley are fighting relegation…

    Jozy, EJ, Charlie Davies- no forwards are getting regular minutes in Europe, wow… that is scary…

    Findley, Buddle, Bornstein are all about to join new clubs…

  67. scott simon says:

    I must respectfully disagree with Ives and most people on this blog about Jozy Altidore.

    Getting minutes playing in Cup games is completely different than getting minutes in La Liga regular season. Villareal is looking to have a great season and therefore the Cup games are of less importance. That is why they sort of play their B team for those games.

    I feel Jozy would be better served by moving to a club where he could consistently start in regular league games. However, I think the problem is that there is not much demand for him in Europe. I would rather see him start every game in the MLS and remember how to score than to get a few minutes in less important games in Spain.

  68. scott simon says:

    I must respectfully disagree with Ives and most people on this blog about Jozy Altidore.

    Getting minutes playing in Cup games is completely different than getting minutes in La Liga regular season. Villareal is looking to have a great season and therefore the Cup games are of less importance. That is why they sort of play their B team for those games.

    I feel Jozy would be better served by moving to a club where he could consistently start in regular league games. However, I think the problem is that there is not much demand for him in Europe. I would rather see him start every game in the MLS and remember how to score than to get a few minutes in less important games in Spain.

  69. matt says:

    I never said he played bad in the Man U game, I said he played badly in the starts that he earned after playing well in that game… Spector (like many top youth athletes) did play FW when he was 15/16, but he certainly does not show the kind of skill to play there now… hey, I generally like the kid, he shows a great attitude and gives a good effort every time out… I was just disagreeing with the notion that he somehow deserved more time than he was getting… and I still think he could be a better CB than FB

  70. art says:

    Think its still way too early to say anything definitive about Charlie Davies.

  71. art says:

    well there are those (myself included) who would argue Casey earned a trip to South Africa last summer. Cooper? Not so much.

  72. GW says:

    “Kenny Cooper can thank his dad for where he career has gone over the last couple of years. ”

    That is not true.

    Cooper’s career has hit the skids because he has had a series of injuries and has been unable to play until recently.

  73. GW says:

    EJ has made a ton more money the past few years by being in Europe than he would have by staying in here in MLS.

    While he may soon have to move from Fulham it’s pretty clear there are a number of lower level European teams that would take him on and where he would do well like he did in Aris. He is also a better player now than he would have been had he stayed here.

    I’ll agree he still doesn’t look good for the USMNT but that may just be a case of a player not fitting into a team.

    In any case, I doubt EJ has any regrets over going to Europe when he did, nor should he. If you are a professional soccer player you want to play at the highest level you can for as long as you can.

  74. GW says:

    “on a team which only plays south american players. ”

    I didn’t realize that New Jersey was in South America. They alos used to play Pires who is from France.

  75. Ethics says:

    Out-the-door blows

  76. Allegre says:

    True…This is the problem with most US Overseas-ers…MLS needs to start paying these guys.

    Gooch to MLS…make it happen!