Wednesday, February 08, 2006


From across the pond, we get a rumor that young Freddy Adu is going to be signed by the Yankees of Europe, Chelsea Football Club:
CHELSEA are about to send more shock waves through the football world by beating Manchester United to secure the services of Freddy Adu, the American teenager widely regarded as the most exciting young player on the planet. United and several top clubs in Italy and Spain have been tracking Adu for four years, but Chelsea’s negotiations are at an advanced stage. Agreements are imminent with the player and Major League Soccer (MLS), which owns his registration. The 16-year-old forward is expected to move to London in the summer, by which time he hopes to have become the youngest player to feature in a World Cup tournament
Funded by Russian oil magnate (and Tim Roth lookalike) Roman Abramovich, Chelsea has been buying and selling players like a hopped-up day-trader for the last several years, so it's no surprise that they would have interest in Young Fred.

Aside from the money (which he already has plenty of, thank you Nike, Gatorade, etc.), I'm struggling to imagine why Freddy would be interested in them. Yes Chelsea are quite probably the best team in the world right now, but theirin lies the rub - Adu is not ready to play at that level. For his future as a player, not to mention the future of U.S. Soccer in general, he has to play regularly. At Chelsea that is vastly unlikely to happen.

Consider the case of a somewhat similar, though vastly more accomplished and battle-tested, player who moved to London over the summer. Shawn Wright-Phillips had performed so well over the previous 2 seasons that the cognescenti were openly advocating for him to start ahead of David Beckham for the English national team. After half a season largely on the bench for Chelsea, those rumors have died. Admittedly, injuries have played a part, but he has not had much of an opportunity to play himself back into form.

The worst possible outcome is Adu making the move, riding the pine and becoming a symbol of how the American 'soccer revolution' is overrated, as Darko Milicic has somewhat poisoned the well for young European basketball players. Sadly, that is the most likely outcome as well.


Fletch said...

Hey now, Chelsea is much more like the Red Sox to Man-U's Yankees than the other way around. As for Freddy, eh. He is good, but who cares if he plays for the American champion DC United or a European team? All that matters is that he helps us win our first World Cup!

Pooh said...

In terms of finances, Chelsea is most certainly the Yankees (with the possible exception of Real Madrid). And I would't mind him leaving DC at all, I just think moving to Chelsea would hinder his growth. If he went to a mid-sized team for 2 years, and played every game, he'd be much better off. And by extension, so would our national team.

bill said...

I agree, the only reason to move to Europe is a reasonable expectation of playing time.

Though I have this odd feeling that he's just an early bloom prodigy. He's a phenom at 16, but y the time he's 23 everyone else that age will have caught up to him.