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Bradley's $10 million deal sets MLS record
by Paul Kennedy, January 9th, 2014 8:36PM

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[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 on Jozy 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 Valeri joined 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 million Michael 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 million Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards to Fulham, 2008)
$6 million Maurice Edu (Rangers to Stoke City, 2012)
$5 million Maurice Edu (Toronto FC to Rangers, 2008)
(Fees are estimates.)


8 comments
  1. charles davenport
    commented on: January 10, 2014 at 8:35 a.m.
    Bradley may be our Roy Keane, Paolo Maldini, Dunga. Can't advance in the World Cup without a player like this.

  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: January 10, 2014 at 9:47 a.m.
    Don't put Paolo Maldini in that group. Dunga and Keane were enforcers. Maldini was one of the most talented and cultured defenders ever to play the game. He didn't have to hack people down because he knew how to play defense in the same mode as Beckenbauer and Bobby Moore.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: January 10, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.
    I understand the money is important for the security of his family, but at age 25, is this the best move developmentally for Michael?

  1. Jake Lammi
    commented on: January 10, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
    This move to the MLS just proves that Bradley isn't all that talented of a player, like most Americans want to think. He is a sub-par, mediocre at very best, midfielder when compared to anyone at his position in the top leagues in Europe. I mean he couldn't even break into a Villa squad a few years ago that was battling to stay up in the Prem. It's almost sad that he is the USA's best midfielder and probably most important player going to Brazil. Not that he hasn't played well or had phenomenal performances at times, he just isn't great. If he was, he would have had multiple bigger profile clubs wanting a real bite at him with his departure from Roma imminent.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: January 10, 2014 at 11:13 a.m.
    Ironically, MLS is shelling out about 3x more for what they received for Bradley. His return to a lower tier league like the MLS is highly questionable about his true euro-league value. He's a solid player, but not even close, as cited by Charles D, to the likes of Maldini, Dunga, or Roy Keane who had stellar consistent careers.

  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: January 10, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.
    I think Klinsmann's comments to his players regarding playing consistently before the World Cup are leading players such as Dempsey to play for Fulham for 2 months, Shea's move to Barnsley, and Bradley to Toronto. For the short term this is good for the US as a team entering the World Cup, however, not playing at the highest level is a concern.

  1. Peter sheehan
    commented on: January 11, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.
    MB will prove his worth not just to his team and teammates but to MLS, I can guarantee you that right here and now! Roma and coach Garcia were a little reluctant to let him go but these kinds of decisions for young men like him are not easy! MB is very admired by all his former teammates at Roma and was held in high regard for his playing abilities! How many kids his age 26 have accomplished what he has and still has a lot to give! C'mon skeptics lighten up. Give him a chance!

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: January 11, 2014 at 7:35 p.m.
    Peter, u have a point; but the MLS is nowhere close to Serie-A.


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