It was the longest of longshots that Carlos Bocanegra and Maurice Edu were going to stay at Rangers and play in Scotland's fourth tier this upcoming season, but the two U.S. men's national team starters have officially been granted the blessing of the club's new owner to seek new teams.
New Rangers owner Charles Green is resigned to the fact that he will lose both players, saying that expecting them to drop all the way down to the Third Division with the cash-strapped club is too much to ask.
"I was at Murray Park with Carlos on Sunday and he was out there jogging. He's been playing international matches which is why Ally [McCoist] allowed him to come back later," Green said. "They said to us they would stay if we had gone down a division. To ask them to stay in the Third Division is a bridge too far. We are going to lose some more players now unfortunately for different reasons than why the last ones left. We sympathise and thank them for their loyalty."
Edu, who had a transfer to French club Sochaux turned down last winter, has been recently linked with a move to Turkey, while Bocanegra's name has been batted around MLS circles but is also a candidate to seek a top-level club in Europe. Green made no mention of U.S. international Alejandro Bedoya, who moved to Rangers last summer from Swedish club Orebro.
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BANGOR CITY PLAYER NAMED ON UEFA BEST PLAYER SHORTLIST
Some of the game's biggest names were included on the 32-player shortlist for UEFA's Best Player in Europe award. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Les Davies among them. Yes, Bangor City's Welsh midfielder Les Davies.
Coming off a season in which he scored 16 goals for the Welsh Premier League side, Davies is the shock nominee among a group voted on by a panel of journalists across Europe. The finalists will be narrowed down to three on Aug. 14 before a winner is crowned in Monaco on Aug. 30. The award is in its second year after its inception for the 2010-2011 season, when Messi captured the hardware.
Here is the full list of nominees:
Sergio Aguero, Xabi Alonso, Mario Balotelli, Jakub Błaszczykowski, Gianluigi Buffon, Iker Casillas, Petr Čech, Fábio Coentrão, Leslie Davies, Didier Drogba, Cesc Fàbregas, Radamel Falcao, Joe Hart, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Andrés Iniesta, Shinji Kagawa, Vincent Kompany, Frank Lampard, Lionel Messi, Luka Modrić, Mesut Özil, Pepe, Andrea Pirlo, Sergio Ramos, Raúl González, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Yaya Touré, Robin van Persie, Xavi Hernández.
STURRIDGE'S OLYMPIC PLACE UNCERTAIN
One of Team Great Britain's top goal-scoring threats may not be competing at the Olympics after all.
Daniel Sturridge's place on the squad is in jeopardy as he battles a case of viral meningitis. Sturridge has until July 25 to prove to manager Stuart Pearce that he is fully recovered and fit. If the 22-year-old Chelsea forward is not, then he will be replaced by one of the four injury alternates, but he would also leave a major vacancy up top, where he is primed for a starring role.
"I have got to be 100% sure in my mind that Daniel is fit enough and can see out a tournament," Pearce told the BBC. "There were certainly doubts because of the illness he had."
FULHAM EYE LUKAKU LOAN
Romelu Lukaku has had a hard time breaking through in Chelsea's lineup ever since joining the club from Anderlecht, and one of Chelsea's London neighbors is looking to take him off the Blues' hands this season.
Fulham, which has lost a number of attacking pieces in the transfer market and could be on the verge of losing Clint Dempsey as well, is reportedly interested in a season-long loan for Lukaku, a rising star and Belgian international. Chelsea is also reportedly into finding a loan partner for Lukaku, who has accompanied the team on its U.S. tour.
Where do you think Bocanegra, Edu and Bedoya will end up? Who should win UEFA's Best Player award, and who should be the final three nominees? Do you think Team GB stands a chance without Sturridge? Would you like to see Lukaku get a shot at Fulham?
Share your thoughts below.