Thursday, June 05, 2008


With the Jozy Altidore transfer in the final stages (he still has to pass a physical and come to personal contract terms with Villareal), and the likely transfer of Michael Bradley to the English Premier League, probably to a mid-table team like Tottenham or West Ham, it is time to talk reality.

Bradley is 20, Altidore is 19 and lets face it, while talented, neither have been showing a flair for absolute greatness yet. There have been flashes of skill, but not the regular, day-in, day-out flair that denotes a great player. The fact is that neither of them will start 20+ games next year. So their development will be a bit slower and that is a good thing. Both appear to have the necessary work ethic to find a regular starting position in a couple of years and their development as players will continue. Anyone who thinks Altidore is going to win a regular starting position with Villareal in the fall is smoking something pretty potent.

Right now, the only American on the rumored transfer market, Landon Donovan would have a shot at winning a regular starting slot on a European league, but he needs to get over himself and his delusions of being a great star in the soccer universe. He is a big fish in a little pond and there are literally dozens of European strikers/attacking midfielders with more talen than him.

Barring injury, I think the best Bradley and Altidore could hope for next season is 5-7 starts and maybe another 10 or so appearances off the bench.

Certainly if either or both impress mightily in the Olympics (there is a question of whether Villareal will allow Altidore to be released to play for the U23), then they may get some more opportunities. But in reality, both are going to have to work very very hard in training and perhaps in reserve team matches to see a lot of playing time.

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