As the 2016 MLS season draws near, many teams around the league look like they could use a roster boost. At the same time, the Premier League season is in its last stretch in England and Wales.
A sudden thought came to me. Which player, under-appreciated or under-used, in each EPL club, would I like to see in MLS and which North American squad could benefit from the move?
Total speculation of course but interesting nonetheless.
So, here we go! I’ll proceed by the current club order in the EPL table. (And yes, I’m amazed to see Leicester at the very top …)
Leicester City: Shinzi Okazaki … The spotlight at Leicester is on players such as Vardy, Mahrez and Kanté. But the energy, constant runs and commitment demonstrated by the Japanese forward has been extraordinary. He’d be a great replacement for Oba Martins with the Seattle Sounders.
Tottenham Hotspur: Nabil Bentaleb … a player who’s not often chosen by his manager at Spurs ...would be a terrific piece of a winning puzzle for the New York Red Bulls.
Arsenal: Tomas Rosicky … hurt, getting on in years but still a midfield general. I see him with Kaka at Orlando City SC.
Manchester City: Wilfried Bony … not appreciated ...perhaps underperforming at the Etihad. The natural MLS link is with New York City FC where he’d team up with Villa.
Manchester United: Adnan Januzaj … way too talented to rot on the bench … Could be a huge star here especially in a LA Galaxy kit where he could complement well with Keane and Zardes.
West Ham United: Doneil Henry … OK, let’s bring him back … Oh, and his old team , Toronto FC, still needs help at the back.
Southampton: Florin Gardos … another underused player … a solid defender who could help a bottom team like the Chicago Fire get up the table.
Stoke City: Charlie Adam ...author of one of the goals of the season in England last year. The midfield player’s style would be perfectly suited for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Liverpool: Joe Flanagan … often hurt … a move would be difficult for this Red-t’il-death young star … but a move to the Houston Dynamo under the helm of Owen Coyle could smooth things out.
Watford FC: Sebastian Prodl … how many MLS team could use a big, mobile centre back? Good in the air and not afraid to mix it up. in the post-Pogatetz era, another Austrian connection for the Columbus Crew?
Chelsea: ...perhaps the jackpot ...the biggest name of the lot ...Radamel Falcao … a flop in England but what could he do with service from Pedro Morales in Vancouver?
Everton: Kevin Mirallas … If Laurent Ciman had his way, the Belgian forward would terrorize MLS defenders wearing the colours of the Montreal Impact. Speed, skills and vision, he’d make the IMFC a clear Cup contender.
West Bromwich Albion : Rickie Lambert … what a waste to have his sit … he’s the epitome of "never-say-die" … a talented finisher and an excellent set up man for a forward. The high altitude of Denver would suit his physical style and make the Colorado Rapids an offensive threat.
Crystal Palace: Jordon Mutch … a proven midfield player … much under appreciated … could help transform the Portland Timbers into perennial MLS cup finalists.
AFC Bournemouth: Adam Federici … finally a goalkeeper! Could help FC Dallas young starting keeper Jesse Gonzalez develop into a future MLS best XI.
Swansea City: Leon Britton … in a way, the emblem of the Welsh club but in need of more playing time. The midfielder could help replace Jermaine Jones in New England.
Norwich City Wes Hoolahan … I can really see this speedy midfield player spruce up that position for Sporting Kansas City.
Newcastle: Yoan Gouffran … Another player waiting in the wings. Should play more. I can see him joining the likes of Barnetta, Edu, Nogueira and LeToux in Philadelphia.
Sunderland: Younès Kaboul … getting a bit long in the tooth ..but can still provide good coordination and solid play at the back. Something now missing at Real Salt Lake.
Aston Villa: first off ...pretty much the whole squad is looking to leave the club. Leandro Bacuna’s combative style makes him an ideal fit at D.C. United.