MLS rumor mill: Chicharito to Orlando City? Not so fast

The latest round of big-name players connected to MLS includes Spanish legend Carles Puyol, Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart, and of course, Mexican striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

Hernandez, on loan from Manchester United, is stuck on the bench at Real Madrid, which isn’t the launch point for MLS that immediately comes to mind in regards to players wanting a move. OCSC is also fully stocked with DPs in Kaka, Bryan Rochez and Carlos Rivas, yet an English tabloid, The Daily Mail, has mentioned the Lions along with a half-dozen European clubs as suitors.

Orlando City general manager Paul McDonough told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday the expansion club would be interested in talking with Chicharito's representatives if there was interest in the Mexican's part, but there is nothing to the rumors.

Other MLS teams have contacted MLS in regards to Hernandez over the past few years and supposedly the Galaxy contemplated a deal last summer before it signed Steven Gerrard, who will arrive in June when his contract with Liverpool expires. If such a far-fetched deal should occur, it would require a huge investment from the league as well as whichever team Hernandez would play for, as was the case when Clint Dempsey left Tottenham in 2013 to play for Seattle.

Puyol, 37, has been out of competitive action for more than a year. He was working as Barcelona's assistant director of soccer but quit when his boss, Andoni Zubizarreta, was fired in January. The Denver Post reported that a source told the publication the Rapids have not made an offer for Puyol, yet Barcelona sports daily Mundo Deportivo named “the New York team” or "Qatar" as a possible destination. After leaving Barca, Puyol was linked to a front-office position at New York City FC. (Ferran Soriano, the CEO of Manchester City responsible for overseeing NYCFC, was formerly at Barcelona.) Both New York teams have Designated Player slots available if that route was chosen.

Van der Vaart, 32, is in the final six months of his contract with Germany's Hamburg, and as such can negotiate his next contract independently. He and SKC have been discussing a deal for more than a month, and it seems money is the primary sticking point. “It wouldn't make sense for us,” head coach Peter Vermes told the Kansas City Star.No disrespect to him, but it doesn't make sense for the kind of numbers we're talking.”

SKC last year renegotiated deals with Graham Zusi and Matt Besler that upgraded them to DP salaries. If the parties could agree to terms, a team could sign Van der Vaart to a DP deal that counts for one-half the salary-budget charge this season and takes full effect in 2016. The Galaxy did the same thing with Robbie Keane in 2011 and needed to trim a lot of cap space the following offseason to balance the books. Van der Vaart wouldn't command as high a salary as does Keane, who earned $4.5 million last year.

1 comment about "MLS rumor mill: Chicharito to Orlando City? Not so fast".
  1. Ric Fonseca, April 7, 2015 at 7:11 p.m.

    Interesting article, however, I am surprised that the authors either did not know about the LA Times article of Sunday the 5th titled "New L.A. club should acquire Hernandez," by Kevin Baxter the Times' soccer beat writer. In it, Baxter makes a fairly sensible argument for the LA FC that will replace the old Chivas USA and begin play in '17. Baxter says that the new Los Angeles FC and Chicharito are meant for each other, what with the heavy Latino/Mexican American market (NO, Baxter is not advocating for a similar bent that the not-around-anymore club proposed ten years ago) coupled with what appears to be a new futbol soccer specific stadium to be build, more likely, on the current site of the dilapilated LA Sports Arena and next to the now vaunted and heavily "populated" LA Live and next to Staples Center, the Nokia Theater, the LA Convention Center, the LA Coliseum, etc. I believe the best thing that PG and RM ought to do is to get permission from the LA Times to run Baxter's article so that other readers can see what all this is about, and so folks, PLAY ON!

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