Recent Twittering by American International Striker Freddy Adu has brought the prospect of him joining the Tigers in the English Premier League to the forefront of the transfer rumor mill.
Adu, the Ghana-born 20-year-old has been on loan at A.S. Monaco in France, and C.F. Os Belenenses in the Portuguese second division from S.L. Benfica who are sitting second in the Portuguese Liga Sagres. He has reportedly been linked with a move to either Hull City in the EPL, or Greek side, Aris Thessaloniki FC.
The young American made history by becoming the youngest player in Major League Soccer when he made his professional debut for D.C. United in the MLS clash against San Jose Earthquake, when he came on as a second half substitute, at the tender age of 14. He broke the MLS record two weeks later by becoming the youngest scorer in the MLS by scoring in the 3-2 loss to the New York Metrostars.
Adu became the focal point for much speculation about his future when as a 10-year-old in 2000, he played in an under-14's tournament in Italy, for the U.S. Olympic Development Program, against such teams as Lazio and Juventus.
Due to the success of the U.S. team and Adu in particular, F.C. Internazionale Milano tried to sign him to their academy for a six figure sum. Adu's mother rejected the offer on advice of his agent.
Adu was drafted to the MLS franchise D.C. United to keep him close to his family because of his young age, in a deal that was agreed in conjunction with the MLS commissioner, and the MLS franchise Dallas Burn who had the overall number one draft pick for that season.
Further speculation grew about a move to Europe in 2006 as it became know that Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was a fan of his. Ferguson denied the claims, but Manchester United invited him over for a two week trial to play with the Manchester United academy players.
In 2006 he was traded to Real Salt Lake but had less than a full season with Real, scoring two goals in 11 appearances.
On July 30 2007, he signed for the famous Portugese club Benfica. S.L. Benfica paid $2 million to the MLS for the transfer, but his time with the Eagles has been less than auspicious. Adu only made 11 appearances for Benfica, scoring five goals before a season long loan spell for the 2008/9 season at A.S. Monaco in France, were he made only 10 appearances with no goals.
Benfica then loaned him out to Portugese Second Division side C.F. Os Belenenses for the 2009/10 season in Lisbon were he was injured just before half time in his debut for the club. Unfortunately for Adu, with a change in management at the club at the end of December 2009 it was decided to return him to Benfica.
From a promising start the young American's career has stalled but he will be hoping that if he can get a work permit a move to the English Premiership would help in his attempts to become a regular in the U.S. National side for the World Cup in South Africa in the summer.
However, gaining a work permit for a loan spell in England is never easy for non-European players. To gain a work permit a player must have played at least seven percent of international games in the previous two season. Something that Adu clearly hasn't done, but it is a very slim chance that he could be granted a permit in the young players' category, in which a player can plead his case at a tribunal, but with his lack of first team football his chances are slim indeed.