Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Top 5 Most Relevant Designated Players MLS Should Pursue; Is Didier Drogba Coming to MLS?

Drogba with Champion's Trophy
The obvious caveat to this list is whether a player would consider coming to MLS this season or next season. 

Certain star players in the primes of their careers are completely entrenched with their club teams for contractual and cultural reasons or they can make more money in other leagues.  Messi, Rooney, Ronaldo and Neymar come to mind, just to name a few. 

But, there is a next level of starpower that would consider playing in the U.S. and is at the right stage in their career to make the move. 

It is essential that MLS pursue these and other players quickly.  They need to be Stevie Wondered (signed, sealed, delivered).  Henry was the last big name to come around and Beckham is old news now.  He's still exciting, but a few more like him would get more of the sporting public's attention.

Kaká (l), Ronaldhino (r) after winning the World Cup
At #5, Kaká fits the profile perfectly of a former Soccer mega star, who has plenty left in the tank to create chances on goal and make an MLS team more flashy.

He's in his early '30's with championship experience from superclubs AC Milan and Real Madrid.  He's on the downside of his career lately as his goal-scoring has gone down each year over the last three seasons, but that's what makes him the perfect candidate for MLS.

He's on par with the likes of Thierry Henry.

#4 is Jozy Altidore, who plays for a club that no one has heard of from some distant far away country that nobody is sure of exists.  By the way, he usually starts as power forward for the U.S. National Team.  And, he's an American.

He needs MLS and MLS needs him.  It's an easy one to figure out.

Jozy can brand better here in the U.S., just ask Landon Donovan.

#3 Ronaldhino has to be near the top of the list.  He refined modern play in many ways with his brilliant footwork, dribbling and speed.  He's as much fun to watch as Soccer can be.

He's under contract with a Brazilian team, Flamengo, till 2014, but these Soccer contracts are easy to work around.  Player transfers happen all the time.

Another guy in the mold of Henry or David Beckham, he has had his time in the world's spotlight and can now carry his image further in the U.S.

Altidore (l) and Dempsey (r) celebrate something good.
#2 Clint Dempsey is on a tear in the Premier League.  He has scored more goals than any other American, but why not bring all the bag of tricks back stateside?  He may still be in his prime, but he's had 6 or 7 seasons already abroad.

Unlike the veterans on the list who have been there-done that and been paid handsomely for it, Dempsey needs to be compensated more than what he gets from Fulham.

He doesn't need MLS like Altidore, but he would still benefit greatly by playing year-round here. 

#1 Didier Drogba, after his performance over the years with Chelsea and backing it up with a Champions League victory, is in the right spot to be gobbled up by an MLS team with the right incentives.

He has performed well on the international stage as well, giving Ivory Coast the reputation and threat to win at anytime.

His style and flair will draw new fans to MLS.  He is a dynamic trendsetter on and off the field.

And, the most important thing is, that he's available now.


  1. MLS level of play is awful. This would kill the progress of Dempsey and Altidore. Until we get it to a higher level all US players who want to be on the MNT ought to go abroad

  2. Drogba has already signed with the Chinese League. As for Altidore, he is playing with a team that get Europa League as well as a very competitive Dutch League that regularly gets scouted for the big four - Italy, Germany, England and Spain.

    MLS could not afford Dempsey at this time. If he leaves Fulham it will be for millions - to another EPL team. Unfortunately, MLS do not pay Americans like they pay foreigners.

    At Seattle, Kasey Keller was only making $300,000 while Freddie Ljungberg was paid $3 million. (It should have been the other way around).

  3. Droghba would have the opportunity to be transformative in the MLS arena, in a way Beckham could never be. Droghba's Blackness might encourage the "inner city youths" to look more seriously at Soccer as an alternative to Gridiron and Basketball. It could open up the talent pool in a way no other player possibly could. Imagine if only a precious few athletes with the athleticism and talent of, say, an RGIII, a LeBron James, or 100 other Varsity NCAA players. It would certainly push the MNT to another level and help to Americanize Soccer even more than what has been achieved so far. Trust me, Soccer gets very little respect among Black athletes, despite the lip service. Seeing Droghba first hand might go far toward changing that.