The 10 Best European Destinations for U.S. Star Michael Bradley
In the 2010 World Cup, Michael Bradley proved himself to be one of the best midfielders in the world. During the group stage, Bradley covered over 22 miles, the fourth most of any player in the tournament and his work rate rivals Ronaldo, Messi, and Rooney.
In other words, Bradley's superb performance has translated into success for the US national team. The US national team won Group D, and had a chance to beat Ghana in the round of 16.
Bradley's success will translate into a large payday this summer. It is all but certain Bradley will leave Borussia Mönchengladbach, his club for the past two seasons, and move to a larger, more competitive club.
Many teams throughout the world are making a push for Bradley during the transfer window, hoping he can continue his mid-fielding excellence. And many potential suitors for Bradley are in the biggest leagues in the world, most notably the Premier League and La Liga.
On the next slides are 10 possible destinations for Bradley this offseason, based on both research and opinion. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts.
As Bradley's World Cup performance has shown, he is fully capable of playing in the English Premier League.
Perhaps the most likely destination in the EPL for Bradley is Arsenal.
For the last two years, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has been raving about Bradley. Bradley would provide Arsenal with a dynamic option for its midfield.
With growing concern that Cesc Fàbregas may be transferred to Arsenal, the team needs to add a veteran midfielder during the transfer window.
Although Bradley lacks EPL experience, he proved himself during the FIFA World Cup to be one of the greatest emerging midfield talents.
Roy Hodgson and Liverpool will have to endure a nerve-wracking few months.
The team is under financial constraints, may lose its best players in the transfer market, and is facing increased competition to remain at the top of the EPL.
Unless it loses more of its players to the transfer market, Liverpool has only around 15 million euros to spend this summer.
In order to keep Gerrard and Torres, Hodgson has to make a splash during the transfer window. One logical move would be to sign Michael Bradley.
As Torres saw during the 2009 Confederations Cup and Gerrard saw in the World Cup, Bradley is emerging as one of the best midfielders in the world.
Bradley's youth, athleticism, and soccer knowledge can reinvigorate the Liverpool football franchise and put it back on par with Chelsea, Arsenal, and the Manchesters.
And a move for Bradley may be just enough to keep around Gerrard and Torres and save Hodgson's job.
On November 15, 2008, Michael Bradley scored his first international goal against Bayern Munich. Ever since that goal, Bradley became a successful midfielder for Borussia Mönchengladbach,
It may now be time for Bradley to switch roles and join Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich is coming off one of its most successful seasons in team history. The team won its league and advanced all the way to the UEFA Champions League final where it lost to Inter Milan 2-1.
With high expectations for its 2010-2011 season, there is great pressure on Bayern Munich to replicate its success.
The team has many high-profile players who may be subject to the transfer market and Bayern won't be able to sign everyone.
All this pressure may compel Louis van Gaal to guarantee Bradley playing time.
This is not a logical move but in the crazy world of European Soccer, rethink the unthinkable.
Before agreeing to a four-year deal with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Michael Bradley seemed headed to Birmingham City, as long as the team qualified for the English Premier League.
Unfortunately for Bradley, the team didn't qualify in the 2008 season.
Currently, Birmingham City is a proud member of the English Premier League. Although it can barely compete with Chelsea or Man United, Birmingham City may be an ideal destination for Bradley.
As a lower member of the EPL, Birmingham City can afford to give Bradley more playing time than most teams.
His transfer would also give Birmingham City a chance to remain in the league and be a great asset to a smaller franchise.
Although Man City has not publicly expressed interest in Bradley, he would be a good fit for this emerging team in the Premier League.
For the last few seasons, Man City has quietly built up its roster to rival the other club in Manchester, as well as Arsenal and Chelsea.
A player like Bradley makes everyone around him better. Bradley is a great passer and his knowledge of the game will definitely help out the other players on Man City, most notably Carlos Tevez.
If 12 million euros can lead Man City to an EPL title, he will be the steal of the century.
Two years ago, the New York Times reported that Old Trattford was interested in acquiring Michael Bradley. At the time, Bradley was only 22 and lacked international experience.
This may be the perfect opportunity for Bradley to elevate his career and join the top of the EPL.
Manchester United is worried it can lose both Rio Ferdinand and Nedema Vidic this offseason. Losing both players would provide a significant blow to its midfield, already regarded by many to be the team's weakest position.
Adding Bradley would provide some stability in Man U's midfield and would be a catalyst for Wayne Rooney, perhaps the best striker in the world.
And yes, Bradley would get enough playing time to strike his fancy.
Before Bradley agreed to sign with Birmingham City and later Borussia Mönchengladbach, Everton was the likely destination for Bradley.
Everton has had success bringing American players into its unique system, most notably Tim Howard and Landon Donovan.
If Landon Donovan remains at Everton (Manchester City is rumored to be very interested in Donovan), Bradley would be a perfect acquisition.
Throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Bradley and Donovan worked together to score a combined four goals and propel the United States out of the group state for only the fourth time since 1950.
As equally impressive, most of the goals by the tandem were come-from-behind goals.
Bradley would feel very comfortable playing at Everton and could be the catalyst needed to make Donovan one of the best players in the EPL.
In an interview with ESPN Magazine in April, Bradley remarked how "it has been my dream for as long as I can remember to play for the biggest clubs in the world."
The way Bradley has been playing, a move to one of the top clubs in the world may only be a few years, or even moths away.
In 2008, AC Milan was rumored to have interest in Bradley. If the team still has interest in Bradley, Milan may be the perfect fit for him.
Bradley would be able to fulfill one of his greatest goals in life and could use AC Milan as a springboard to play in the Premier League in a few years.
Two years ago, Valencia was one of many teams that expressed interest in Michael Bradley. The team has lost David Silva in the transfer market and needs to acquire a potent midfielder.
Michael Bradley may be such an option.
Although it does not play in the Premier League or La Liga, Valencia has continually proven itself to be one of the best teams in the world.
Bradley may not get ample playing time but would be part of one of the world's greatest soccer clubs.
In the 2008 season, Bradley was poised to join Hamburg. The team sold Rafael Van Der Vaart to save money and clear room for Bradley.
Hamburg is one of the best soccer clubs in Germany but always seems to be second to Bayern Munich.
Bradley is acclimated with playing soccer in Germany and a move to Hamburg would seem seamless to him.
Hamburg has seen firsthand how dangerous Bradley can be in the midfield and would love to acquire a player of his stature.
A low two figure transfer fee can get Hamburg a player good enough to give Bayern Munich a run for its money.