[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Roma confirmed Thursday night in a press release that it had sold Michael Bradley to MLS for $10 million.
The deal, which paves the way for his signing by Toronto FC, sets a record for a fee paid by MLS for a player. The fee paid for Clint Dempsey, signed by the Seattle Sounders, was reported to be $9 million. The fee is also the second highest fee ever paid for an American player after the $13 million Sunderland spent last summer onJozy Altidore, acquired from AZ.
In the early years of MLS, the league would occasionally pay big money for players -- $4 million for Mexican forward Luis Hernandez (Tigres to LA Galaxy) and Argentine-Ecuadoran Ariel Graziani(Morelia to Dallas Burn) -- but it largely shied away from shelling out for players until the signing of David Beckham got the DP ball rolling.
Robbie Keane joined Beckham at the Galaxy in 2011 for a fee estimated at $5.25 million. Transfer activity picked up in 2013 as the Sounders signed Obafemi Martins from Spanish club Levante for $4 million, while 2013 Newcomer of the Year Diego Valerijoined the Portland Timbers in a permanent transfer for a fee in the neighborhood of $3 million.
Until the signing of Bradley and Dempsey by MLS clubs, all the highest fees paid for Americans were by European clubs.
Highest Transfer Fees, American Players:
$13 million Jozy Altidore (AZ to Sunderland, 2013)
$10 million Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls to Villarreal, 2008)
$10 millionMichael Bradley (Roma to Toronto FC, 2014)
$9.7 million Clint Dempsey (Fulham to Tottenham, 2013)
$9 million Clint Dempsey (Tottenham to Seattle Sounders, 2013)
$6 millionEddie Johnson(Kansas City Wizards to Fulham, 2008)
$6 million Maurice Edu (Rangers to Stoke City, 2012)
$5 millionMaurice Edu(Toronto FC to Rangers, 2008)
(Fees are estimates.)