When David Beckham made the plunge Stateside he did so with the hope of aiding the development of the game in the USA. Soccer is not on the highest echelon of lists when it comes to the average American’s sporting interests. However he has overseen a change in the perception of MLS, which has risen in popularity in the past five years. A lot of that rise, as it was with the NASL of the 1970’s is down to the retention of top American talent such as Landon Donovan and acquisition of top foreign talent from around the globe.
Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Robbie Keane, Rafael Marquez and Tim Cahill have all now plied or are plying their trade in North America.
With rumours persisting of Frank Lampard’s potential move to join Becks at LA Galaxy, we take a look at five other Premier League stars who could swap biscuits for cookies and pavement for sidewalks next season.
Maynor Figueroa - Wigan Athletic
This one is a no-brainer I suppose. A quick glance at Transfermarkt tells you that the Honduran international is out-of-contract again this summer. He turns 30 next may and may consider a move to America ideal to continue his international career with Las Catrachos, with whom he is approaching his 100th cap.
San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution, who tried to sign him pre-Wigan, all have Honduran internationals he could link up with.
A little bit of a punt this one but the summer Bosman could move out to the MLS this summer. Again he fits the criteria of MLS side’s propensity to go for free agents with a contract entering its final year and talks with West Ham appear inexistent at this time.
He has a real affinity for the Hammers fans, which is shared for his pay-cut in the Championship last season; but a lucrative deal in America where he has previously done a spread in Sports Illustrated could be in the offing.
Dean Whitehead – Stoke City
Whitehead signed a four-year-deal at the Britannia when he arrived from Sunderland in 2009 and so far no extensions have been offered. While MLS sides are always looking for marquee signings they also look to acquire real quality that can help build success at a less extortionate fee.
However Championship sides will surely rival any MLS bid for the Oxfordshire-born 30-year-old.
William Gallas - Tottenham Hotspur
This is the one I would put my money on out of the options stated. Gallas is important for Spurs but certainly won’t be offered a lucrative deal by the tight-fisted Daniel Levy and youth encouraging AVB.
Gallas was born on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and regularly makes the trip back to the Leeward Islands when he has a spare moment. A move to the East Coast of America would make this a less strenuous commute and he would be a huge marquee signing for any MLS side.
Brede Hangeland – Fulham
OK he is surely still too talented to move out to America, but he isn’t getting any younger at 32 this summer.
A move back to his birthplace of Houston, Texas would be a real coup for the Oscar De La Hoya part owned Houston Dynamo. Currently they have no marquee designated players and a move for Norway’s captain could be massive for the side.
So could these or any other players make the move Stateside this summer?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald