[AMERICANS ABROAD] Amid reports that Sunderland, Galatasaray and Palermo are courting Borussia Moenchengladbach's Michael Bradley, Gladbach coach Michael Frontzeck explained why he benched the American after 17 straight starts. Also, last-place Gladbach is pursuing veteran Michael Fink, who like Bradley is a defensive midfielder.
The 23-year-old Bradley, midway through his third season at Gladbach, had been a regular starter since arriving from Dutch club Heerenveen.
He played all but 13 minutes of this season's first 17 games and scored three goals before being relegated to the bench in the last two games.
Shortly before the winter break, Frontzeck, according to Express, changed the team’s formation and told Bradley, “I want to try something else because I don’t want people to say that I haven’t tried everything.”
Gladbach, with a 3-12-4 win-loss-tie record, is rock bottom in Germany's Bundesliga and six points deep in the relegation zone.
Bradley played only 19 minutes in a 1-0 win over FC Nuremberg and four minutes in a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Express reported that Gladbach, if it secures a replacement – such as Fink, a 28-year-old who played 131 Bundesliga games (12 goals) before moving to Turkey’s Besiktas -- will accept a $6.8 million offer for Bradley. Gladbach acquired Bradley from Dutch club Heerenven for about half that amount in the summer of 2008.
Galatasaray and Palermo reportedly offered $4 million for Bradley, whose contract with Gladbach expires after the 2011-12 season.
English Premier League club Sunderland, currently in sixth place, has funds to spend: It collected $38 million in its sale of striker Darren Bent to Aston Villa.
The Guardian reported that Sunderland has been given permission by Inter Milan to speak with defensive midfielder Sulley Muntari, whose two appearances at the 2010 World Cup included Ghana’s round of 16 win over the USA, for which Bradley started all four games in South Africa. Sunderland is also reportedly close to signing Paris St. Germain midfielderStephane Sessegnon.