[MLS] With the U.S. domestic transfer window set to close Thursday, teams are scrambling to complete deals in time. While the restrictions only apply to players currently under contract, several teams are trying to sign free agents and one team is apparently after a French star currently playing in Spain. For three stories we are following ...
PIRES IN THE MIX? An anticipated influx of French players in the wake of expanded Designated Player options for MLS teams might include former French international midfielder Robert Pires, currently under contract to Spanish club Villarreal. (According to France Football, the club hoping to sign Pires is Philadelphia Union.)
The league’s Web site, mlssoccer.com, reported Tuesday that Memed Djemmal, the U.S. representative for Pires, confirmed he was in negotiations with an MLS team to bring Pires to the U.S. after the World Cup. He didn’t reveal which team but also confirmed it is not New York, which is trying to acquire Notts County winger Luke Rodgers and is in pursuit of one other player.
Djemmal said clubs in England and France are also interested in Pires, whose contract with Villareal expires in June. Under FIFA transfer regulations, a player in the final six months of his contract is free to negotiate and sign his next deal.
RODGERS AND THE RED BULLS. While press reports in England routinely mention that another Frenchman, Theirry Henry, is bound for the Red Bulls this summer, fans will have to settle for Luke Rodgers for the time being, and that’s if difficulties in securing a work permit are cleared up in time.
He’s scored 10 goals for Notts County in League Two (fourth division), which is where Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe worked before crossing the Atlantic to take the New York job. Rodgers, 28, was fined in February for his role in a nightclub brawl, and the Daily Mail reported Tuesday that his work-permit application had been denied.
Backe also said the Red Bulls are in pursuit of a left-sided midfielder but the Thursday transfer window may prevent a deal from being consummated.
NGWENYA BACK TO HOUSTON. After four days of training with the Dynamo, which he helped win MLS Cup three seasons ago, attacker Joseph Ngwenya accepted an offer to rejoin the Dynamo Tuesday afternoon.
Ngwenya scored nine goals in 33 games for the Dynamo in 2007 and in league play tied for the team lead with seven goals in 25 matches. Since his departure, club officials have tried several times to wrest him away Turkish club Antalyaspor, where he played in 2008 and 2009.
He played college ball at Coastal Carolina and after starting his MLS career with the Galaxy in 2004, he went to Columbus in a trade in 2006. The following season the Crew traded him to Houston in exchange for Alejandro Moreno. He joins a team hurting, literally, at forward, with Brian Ching and Cam Weaver injured.