Welcome to a new daily feature here on MLS Football focusing on some transfer and club news. This is the MLS Rundown by Craig Thompson, also known as The Higher Tempo Press’ Charlie Tango. You can find me on twitter at @CT_MLS.
WAITING BY THE PHONE
Former England international and current La Galaxy player Ashley Cole, who turns 37 later this month, plans to stay in Major League Soccer with the Galaxy for one more year.
Metro’s Kristian Dyer reports that Cole’s ambitions are to remain with his current team; “I still want to win. And to be able to do it with a big team like LA Galaxy would top it off. I’d like to stay here another year and win a title with them.”
Once celebrated as the best left back in world football, Cole is one of the English Premier League’s most successful players having a medal haul which boasts three Premier Leagues, seven FA Cups, a League Cup, Europa League and European Champion’s League honours. Cole joined LA Galaxy following a short stint with Roma and has impressed but is not one of Galaxy’s Designated Players, as a result he operates within the salary cap. No designated player status means no designated player expectations, something Ashley has benefited from during his time in MLS.
JACK COMING BACK
There is no shortage of interest in New York City FC’s England Under-21 international, Jack Harrison. Having made his debut for Aidy Boothroyd’s young lions against Scotland as a late substitute, then making his first start against Andorra, a string of reports suggest that Harrison will depart New York to return to English football in January.
Calciomercato claim that Leicester City are the front runners for Harrison in a deal worth around £6m but Everton (pre-Sam) and Brighton & Hove Albion were all considering bids for the talented winger.
The number 1 pick in the 2016 MLS Superdraft is a former product of the Manchester United youth set up before he departed stateside at age 14, however the fly in the ointment is that United’s rivals Manchester City have first refusal on Harrison due to the links with New York City FC.
NO EUROPEAN DREAM FOR VIEIRA
The line from Patrick Vieira is; “In all honesty, I’m not chasing a job in Europe,” which is a fairly definite declaration to La Figaro but it is inevitable that a coach with the reputation of Vieira is being courted. Not only has he performed impressively by leading New York City FC to two successive Eastern Conference semi-finals but the 41-year-old’s playing career is still fresh in the mind having starred in France’s triumphs in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, not to mention multiple successful seasons spent with the likes of Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City.
However, behind the declaration is the admittance that he was in contact with Saint-Etienne over their vacant managerial position earlier this year and rumours of his potential as a replacement for former USA coach Bruce Arena persist. A return to England must be tempting and considering his City Football Group connections, it’s not outlandish to think he could be Pep Guardiola’s eventual City successor.
Given that Vieira’s previous stint in England was as Manchester City’s Under-23 coach and the recent furore around David Unsworth’s caretaker stewardship of the Toffees, an MLS Cup victory in 2018 might go a long way to solidifying his credentials.
Despite being one of FIFA 18’s star names, Gyasi Zardes’ usefulness for LA Galaxy seems to be at an end as Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times suggests that the Galaxy are prepared to listen offers for the striker.
Zardes is only 26 and has played in five MLS seasons following signing a Homegrown contract prior to the 2013 campaign but with present day the modern currency, a meagre return of two goals and two assists saw him even started as right back as the Galaxy suffered with injuries. It’s hard to imagine Robbie Keane being asked to fill in because coach Sigi Schmid was lacking options.
Any Other Business…
Reports are confused as to whether former Dutch international Wesley Sneijder is set to depart French side Nice for MLS. Neither expansion team Los Angeles FC or LA Galaxy are interested… Chicago journalist Guillermo Rivera reports that Wolfsburg’s Jakub Blaszczykowski is being lined up by Chicago Fire… 2016 USL Goalkeeper of the Year Mitch Hildebrandt has signed for Atlanta United, where he will provide competition for Brad Guzan.