It’s been a busy week for Major League Soccer with plenty of trades, transfers and rumors to spice up the offseason.
The players involved include some of MLS’ biggest names in Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu, Brek Shea and Juan Agudelo as well as one of world football's biggest names in Frank Lampard.
Here’s a breakdown of the all the latest news.
Arguably the biggest question for MLS fans this offseason has been whether or not the league’s most iconic player, Landon Donovan, would return for the 2013 season.
However, on Monday, L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena stated that Donovan will return for the 2013 season with Arena saying “He’s definitely playing this year.” Arena’s comments came after Arena spoke to Donovan on Sunday night.
On Saturday, reports emerged that Stoke City had made a £3 million offer for FC Dallas winger Brek Shea.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis even confirmed the story stating, “There's a lad coming over, Brek Shea, and we are going to have a look at him.”
However, on Wednesday, Pulis reversed his position saying, “We enquired about whether we could bring him over, not managed to achieve it but we move on.”
At the same time that Pulis was confirming the deal was dead, reports emerged that the reason the deal died was that MLS, who controls all player contracts in the single-entity league, wanted twice what Stoke was offering for Shea.
The move seemed an odd one anyways as Shea is still recovering from foot surgery performed in the MLS offseason, but it is also sad that MLS stopped a deal that the player, his current club and his potential future club all seemed to want.
Freddy Adu, who has played for eight different clubs in his nine year career, is again looking for a new club.
In a strikingly honest letter from Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth, Hackworth publicly declared that Adu’s future was not with the Union.
We presented Freddy with an option to come back and play for the Philadelphia Union. However, Freddy chose to stick with his current contract, which was not an option we were willing to accept. At the moment, Freddy has not been sold nor loaned, and he continues to be our player, but in reality, while we are paying his salary and while we have his rights – he is not a part of our plans going forward.
The Union were not prepared to pay Adu the full value of his contract, $500,000 per year, and thus will be looking to move Adu to another team for 2013.
It is another troubling chapter for the man who has, at times, showed show much potential to be a brilliant player.
Former West Ham, Aston Villa and Bolton center midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker may be on his way to America as the New York Red Bulls have been rumored to be interested.
Reo-Coker’s wife is American and he is currently out of contract, having left Ipswich Town in the English Championship midseason.
If he does come to America, it may give some credence to the bizarre rumor floating around that the move to America is part of a move by USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to nationalize Reo-Coker for duty with the U.S.
The Chicago Fire look ready to move on from a so-so 2012 campaign—which saw them finish fourth in the Eastern Conference—by bringing in two veteran MLS midfielders.
Last Wednesday, the Fire announced the signing of Jeff Larentowicz (hilariously called “el Big Red” by Spanish announcers), one of the most consistent holding midfielders in Major League Soccer.
The announcement follows the signing of Joel Lindpere earlier this month. Lindpere, who comes to the Fire via the New York Red Bulls, can be one of the most exciting attacking players in the league when playing at his best.
Ryan Miller, who has been playing professionally in Sweden for the last four years, is returning to the U.S. after being signed by the Portland Timbers.
The 28-year-old Miller, who played collegiately for Notre Dame, has been bantered about in the past as a possible USMNT player. Playing for the Timbers may give him the visibility he needs to make that talk a reality.
Juan Agudelo, who trained with both Celtic and West Ham before reporting to this year’s USMNT January camp, is seeing the final days of the January transfer window tick away.
Celtic’s manager Neil Lennon went public with his team’s interest in Agudelo saying, “Juan is someone we like. We have made tentative approaches.”
Agudelo himself also spoke in favor of the move saying,
[It's] definitely something I thought of as soon as I heard the word Celtic. I know the history. It's basically a religion for many. Just to have that there and have the support of the whole city would be lovely. Especially due to the fact they are consistently Champions League. Being in the group stage of the Champions League is huge.
However, news since those early reports back in December has been scarce. A story today proclaimed that Chivas USA is unhappy with the amount that Celtic has offered for the player.
There’s little doubt that most USMNT fans believe Agudelo would be better off getting out of the dysfunction environment at Chivas USA, but the clock is ticking away.
In one of the more inexplicable stories in world football this year, Chelsea FC has made the decision to allow vice-captain, frequent goal scorer and club legend, Frank Lampard, to leave the club at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The L.A. Galaxy appear to be the prime contenders for the England international with numerous reports emerging last week saying that the move is a done deal.
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