Ridge Mahoney examines all the moves
[ENGLAND WATCH] While the transfer sagas of Eddie Johnson (to Fulham) and Brad Guzan (not to Aston Villa) occupied the attention of U.S. fans, numerous other moves were made by the English Premier League clubs for which American players toil. Here's a brief look at how EPL teams with current U.S. players used the January transfer window.
While the transfer sagas of Eddie Johnson (to Fulham) and Brad Guzan (not to Aston Villa) occupied the attention of U.S. fans, numerous other moves were made by the English Premier League clubs for which other American players toil.
The ranks of Yanks at Fulham grew to five as Manager Roy Hodgson spliced his roster in the final few days leading up to the transfer deadline. Yet changes ran through Derby and Reading as well as those teams prepared for bitter relegation battles.
Here's a brief look at how EPL teams with active U.S. players used the January transfer window, in order of their level of activity.
FULHAM. Hodgson isn't relying on Johnson alone to produce the goals his team desperately needs. The return to health of midfielder Jimmy Bullard, who missed 16 months, will upgrade the service, but Hodgson's bid to land striker Marlon King from Watford failed, and FIFA has blocked a deal with Glasgow Rangers for French striker Daniel Cousin (his transfer would violate FIFA rules that prohibit a player from playing for three clubs in a season). Hodgson also unloaded striker Collins John on loan to Watford.
Brian McBride is also back to health, or nearly so, and played 20 minutes Sunday in his Premier League return from a dislocated kneecap he suffered in August. Norwegian striker Eric Nevland, bought from Dutch club Groningen, debuted for Fulham in that match, and also on board is veteran striker Jari Litmanen, whom Hodgson coached with the Finnish national team. McBride replaced Nevland in the 2-1 comeback victory over Aston Villa, just the Cottagers' third victory of the season.
The signings of midfielder Leon Andreasen and Texas-born defender Brede Hangeland from FC Copenhagen could crowd the playing time of Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra, respectively.
Bocanegra, who didn't play against Villa, and Dempsey were named by U.S. coach Bob Bradley for the squad to face Mexico Wednesday. The loan of midfielder Steve Davis to Glasgow Rangers opens up a slot.
Kasey Keller has played just three games in goal. Finnish international Antii Niemi is the starter -- Finland, remember -- but Keller's stock is upgraded a bit by the loan of Tony Warner to Barnsley. Still, MLS Seattle can't come soon enough.
DERBY. Like their American counterparts at Fulham, Eddie Lewis and Benny Feilhaber are trying to ride out a managerial change, but regardless of Paul Jewell's acumen, the last-place Rams are all but dropped. They've won just one of 25 games.
Feilhaber has played eight matches, but started only one for the Rams, and a rumored move to Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv never materialized. He was nonetheless named him to the roster to face Mexico, the victim of his spectacular volley in last year's Gold Cup final. Lewis has played 13 league games since joining Derby from Preston North End in late August.
Three midfielders came to the squad in January -- Laurent Robert, Robbie Savage and Mile Sterjovski -- adding to the competition Lewis and Feilhaber face for playing time. Robert has EPL experience with Portsmouth and Newcastle, Savage is just what his name implies.
Another January addition is Argentine striker Emmanuel Villa, who scored last weekend in a 1-1 tie with Birmingham.
READING. With just two assists in 18 league games, and his only goal coming in the League Cup, Bobby Convey is one of many Royals struggling to keep their spots as the club looks to avoid relegation in its second season in the EPL. They are in 17th place, just one point and one notch above the relegation zone.
In January, Reading signed Mali international forward Jimmy Kebe from Lens. More threatening to Convey is midfielder Marek Matejovsky (Czech Republic), who cost $2.8 million from Mlada Boleslav.
Keeper Marcus Hahnemann has played every minute and is secure in the No. 1 spot, but Reading's flirtations with relegation, after finishing eighth last year, has many players jittery.
EVERTON. The Toffees remained in fourth place, one point ahead of Merseyside rival Liverpool, thanks to their 0-0 tie at Blackburn on Saturday. It was a battle of American keepers -- Tim Howard in goal for Everton and Brad Friedel defending the Blackburn goal.
There was some movement in the Everton defense during January. Veteran Alan Stubbs left on a free transfer to Derby, while Anthony Gardner was brought as cover.
Defender Dan Gosling, whose $5.8 million transfer from Plymouth was a record for the League Championship club, is only 18.
BLACKBURN. Friedel is in his eighth season with Blackburn and still going strong. Blackburn's defensive record (31 goals allowed in 25 games) is ninth best in the EPL.
Blackburn's only January acquisition was Northern Ireland teen Jonathan Flynn from Ballymena United.
WEST HAM. Jonathan Spector turned 22 last month and played a minor role in the Hammers' spurt of late December -- three games unbeaten, including a stunning 2-1 upset of Manchester United in which Spector played several positions during the 90 minutes.
Spector has played 17 games, eight as a starter, nine as a sub, for the Hammers, who loaned out defenders Calum Davenport and Christian Dailly, but since neither had played this season, the moves don't affect Spector, who wasn't picked for Wednesday's USA-Mexico game.