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Transfer Talk
by Ridge Mahoney, January 31st, 2008 3:15PM
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TORONTO TIDINGS. Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder at first said striker Darren Huckerby isn't headed to Toronto, then said it was still a possibility. TFC teammates Carl Robinson and Jim Brennan are former Canaries, for which Huckerby has scored three goals in 16 games this year.

Though the European transfer window closes Thursday, there's no rush if he's bound for MLS. Contracted players can transfer to the U.S. league until its registration period closes in early spring, but certainly TFC coach Mo Johnston would want him available for as much of the preseason as possible.

Johnston picked Ohio State striker Xavier Balc in the Supplemental Draft and reportedly spoke this week with Notre Dame forward Joseph Lapira, whose MLS rights were taken by TFC in the SuperDraft even though he's not signed a contract with the league, or anybody else. He trained with Nottingham Forest and is finishing up a two-week stint with Aberdeen.

Because he isn't under contract, he could sign with Aberdeen -- or any other European club -- prior to whatever domestic deadline is imposed by whichever league he wishes to play in. Many leagues allow domestic loans and out-of-contract signings until very late in the season

GBANDI BACK. FC Dallas left back Chris Gbandi has returned from a week of training in Norway with Haugesund, but as of yesterday afternoon the club was not aware if any transfer bid had been made.

Gbandi has played 111 matches for FCD since being taken with the No. 1 SuperDraft selection in 2002. FCD picked up his option for 2008 but has alternatives ready, including Blake Wagner, if the deal goes through.

CORRALES IN CAMP. Former San Jose midfielder/defender Ramiro Corrales may be on the verge of transferring to MLS, as his club, defending Norwegian champion SK Brann, is ready to set a price the league can match, according to a source. He is training with the U.S. team in Southern California for its match against Mexico and will find out Friday if he's in the squad traveling to Houston, which is also the MLS team seeking the transfer, though he may be shipped off to San Jose.

Corrales has two years remaining on his contract. He left MLS after the 2004 season, having played 178 games for Miami, the MetroStars and San Jose (both Clash and Quakes). The source says the price will be in the "low six figures."

BONJOUR, ANDREW! D.C. United officials acted surprised to hear news that midfielder Andrew Jacobson, taken out of the University of California with the No. 24 overall selection despite the fact he hadn't signed with MLS, has joined French club Lorient.

True, D.C. has already added five international players, so losing a college player it took on a flyer isn't a catastrophe. Yet, it still burned its highest pick, and neither team that took a high-profile, unsigned player -- Toronto FC (Lapira) and New England (Michael Videira) -- did so with the best pick it had. We shall see how it plays out.

Jamaican forward Dwight Barnett, taken out of Lynn University by Chicago in the third round (No. 38 overall) is reportedly set for a trial in Norway.

SIGNED, OR NEARLY SO. These names have been floating around for a while:

Chivas USA is about to officially land Swiss international Raphael Wicky, and the Galaxy is this close to finally wrapping up the paperwork on Celestine Babayaro.



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