Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Sagas of Johnson, Twellman intertwined
by Ridge Mahoney, January 15th, 2008 6:45AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

The exodus continues. Matt Pickens, Clarence Goodson and Eddie Johnson have left the U.S. camp in Southern California to chase overseas opportunities. Taylor Twellman hasn't. Today's lesson is the importance of foresight.

Johnson left Sunday to conduct final negotiations for a transfer to Fulham of the English Premier League. He turned down Derby County last summer after the EPL club matched the "trigger" price stipulated in his contract, approximately $3.6 million. At that price, MLS is obligated to sell him, contingent upon Johnson wanting to join the bidding club and agreeing to compensation, his share of the transfer fee, perks, etc.

If other clubs are also bidding, as has apparently been the case, Fulham may have to pay more to secure his services, but if a club and Johnson can agree on personal terms, and of course he passes a medical exam, the deal is done.

The fact he's left the U.S. camp to negotiate indicates he has no such aversion to joining the Cottagers, which sit just one place above bottom-feeder Derby and list Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride and Kasey Keller (at least for now) on their roster. After Watford turned down a 4 million pound ($8 million) transfer bid for striker Marlon King, talks with Johnson intensified.

Johnson left behind at Home Depot Center his other USA teammates, most notably Twellman, whose bitter public comments about MLS and/or New England turning down a $2.5 million offer from Preston North End of the League Championship (second division) roiled the training camp over the weekend.

Twellman just signed a new contract with MLS last year. The deal pays him approximately $375,000 in base salary, which a source says will be the individual salary-cap limit this year.

One can sympathize with Twellman, to a point, especially in the light of New England's obstructionist history regarding players going overseas. The Revs turned down inquiries from foreign clubs regarding ex-Rev keeper Adin Brown, midfielder Shalrie Joseph and Dempsey - refused permission by the team to train with Everton prior to his move abroad - prior to the Preston offer for Twellman. But that history should also have sounded a warning.

The question arises: is there a "trigger" price in Twellman's contract. If so, what is it, and if not, why not? Twellman, and a lot of other people, are surprised Preston has upped its bid to $2.5 million. But did he and his agent Dan Segal insist on such a clause in his contract?

Had he done so, and the league and Revs refused, he could have played out his contract and gone abroad as a free agent. With a price in place, he could play on, assured that if the magic figure is attained, only his personal demands stood in the way. Having it both ways seldom fulfills both contingencies.

Two months ago, Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo said Johnson was ready for a move to Europe. Scoring 15 goals in 2007 under Onalfo's tutelage has strengthened his resolve and restored his confidence.

He'll need plenty of both traits at Fulham, which needs goals and a good run of results to climb out of the relegation zone. Fulham has won just twice and scored 23 goals in 22 matches.

The Johnson deal might still fall apart, though any contract that doubles his MLS salary of $875,000 is good stuff. Remember, Brian McBride was done and dusted and gone to Blackburn, until a club executive insisted a clause be added that his salary would be halved if Rovers went down. McBride balked, Fulham pounced with a similar salary unfettered by such restrictions, and he's been there ever since. But who knows what changes may come if Fulham go down?

Fulham has changed managers - Chris Coleman, Lawrie Sanchez and now Roy Hodgson -- but managing director David McNally has kept his position and prompted the influx of Americans, who are well valued in England because of their spirit, determination, and relatively cheap price tags.

"I've said if before: America is the new Africa," said Everton keeper Tim Howard last year after leaving Manchester United. "It's one of the few places left where you can still get a bargain."

No doubt the departure of Johnson angers Twellman anew. But if no team has matched his buy-out figure, he just has to sit tight and reiterate his desire to leave. And if no such clause exists, he really only has himself to blame.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. Abroad: Torres absent from Copa Libertadores final    
After starting both legs of the semifinals, Jose Torres did not play for Mexico's Tigres in ...
MLS honors Rothenberg with legacy award    
MLS founder Alan Rothenberg was named the first recipient of an award that will bear his ...
What They're Saying: Prince Ali    
"[Michel] Platini is not good for FIFA, Football's fans and players deserve better. FIFA is engulfed ...
MLS All-Star Game Takeaways: Kaka carries All-Stars    
Brazilian star Kaka says he grew up and loved watching U.S. all-star games. He finally got ...
ICYMI MLS: Penedo leaves Galaxy, Barnetta goes to Philly    
It looks like Donovan Ricketts could be on his way back to L.A. in the aftermath ...
Video Pick: Lloyd golazo ups goal streak to seven games    
If there is one lesson NWSL opponents should have learned from the Women's World Cup, it's ...
What They're Saying: Abby Wambach    
"I haven't made a decision about the Olympics next summer and I would have to make ...
USL Roundup: Board of Governors meets in Denver    
For the third straight year, the USL has held its annual midseason Board of Governors meeting ...
How does MLS All-Stars vs. Liga MX All-Stars sound?    
With Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star Game set to pit the MLS All-Stars against Tottenham at Dick's ...
TV Report: Gold Cup reaches more than 6.8 million viewers    
The Gold Cup final between Mexico and Jamaica was watched by 6 million viewers on Univision, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives