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2. MLS: Rivaldo rumors; Threats in Salt Lake; Offers Rejected
January 30th, 2007 2:47AM



By Ridge Mahoney
Senior Editor, Soccer America

RIVALDO? Since Friday, news outlets have been reporting that the New York Red Bulls are locked in a bidding war with Mexican club Necaxa for former Brazilian international Rivaldo, 34, who has been playing in Greece for Olympiakos.

A source says that New York has used its second Designated Player slot, supposedly for Rivaldo, but no confirmation from the league or the team has been forthcoming. The Red Bulls acquired a second DP slot in a trade that sent Amado Guevara to Chivas USA, and used their own DP slot last week to sign former U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna.

Rivaldo, a member of Brazil's World Cup-winning squad in 2002, joined Olympiakos in 2004 and signed a one-year extension last March. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999, when he played for Barcelona, and turns 35 in April.

On Monday, the Red Bulls signed former Dutch national team goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus, 36, as a senior international.

REAL DEAL DEAD? Real Salt Lake operator-investor Dave Checketts, frustrated by what appears to be a final setback to building a stadium in suburban Sandy, has threatened to sell the team.

Checketts has rattled sabers several times in his quest to hammer out a stadium deal with county officials and local communities. This may be more of the same, although a source says, "If he did this a month or two ago, I'd say he was just making noise, but this latest setback is serious."

A Debt Review Committee voted, 4-0, with two absences and two abstentions, last week not to funnel $30 million in hotel taxes to help pay for the $110 million project. County mayor Peter Corroon cited the vote, as well as excessive attendance and revenue projections as cited by an independent consultant, as his reasons for turning down the proposal.

Even if the threat to sell the team is a hollow one, Checketts has an alternative. Last year, he bought the NHL St. Louis Stars and efforts have been launched in that city to develop a stadium proposal. If nothing else, the team's shortened name wouldn't have to be changed: RSL works just as well for Real St. Louis. But, if there are indeed prospective owners in St. Louis, in addition to a stadium plan, they also need a team.

DAVIDS GOES DUTCH. Midfielder Edgar Davids has apparently spurned offers from FC Dallas and will move from Tottenham to Ajax on a free transfer.

Davids, 33, had been offered a base salary of $800,000, according to a source, to play for FC Dallas. Instead he will join Ajax on an 18-month contract as per a report by the Dutch press agency ANP. He is scheduled to undergo a medical exam this week at Ajax, the club with which he began his career in 1991.

NEW OFFERS REJECTED. Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad, the target of a recent transfer bid from Norwegian club SK Lillestrom, is apparently still in the club's sights.

Agent Lyle Yorks confirmed Monday Lillestrom had submitted another bid for Conrad, who turns 30 next month and played for the U.S. at the World Cup last summer. However, the club's bid - in the range of $550,000 according to reports out of Europe - is probably less than what MLS is willing to accept.

Odd Grenland, which paid $300,000 for ex-Rapids defender Nat Borchers in 2005, has raised an initial offer for Revs striker Taylor Twellman to approximately $1.5 million but that, too, has been turned down by MLS.

The Revs have reportedly told the league to refuse all offers for Twellman this season and have apparently issued a hands-off order on midfielder Shalrie Joseph as well. Glasgow Celtic offered $1 million for Joseph last August and despite upping its bid this month has again been turned down, according to a source.

WALKER RETIRES: Columbus Crew goalkeeper Jonny Walker, who starred in the Chilean First Division before playing for MLS's MetroStars and Columbus Crew, has announced his retirement because of chronic back injuries. Walker, 32, was sidelined for the entire 2006 season. He played 16 games for the Crew after arriving in 2005 from the MetroStars, for which he played 42 games in 2003-04. He played in Chile in 1998-2003. He earned three U.S. caps.

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