MLS Winter Transfers: Ranking the top 5 deals

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Andy Najar-Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Whenever someone sits down to evaluate transfers, it is always difficult since what you have to go on is simply prior knowledge. You can guess and try to piece together how players will do, much like a puzzle with who will go where and how they will fit. However, the truth is no one knows just how it will pan out. It may look good on paper, but end up disastrous, look no further than Fernando Torres’ move from Liverpool to Chelsea as an example of that.

Fortunately the silly season this winter was, for good or bad, much more cautious. This is especially true for Major League Soccer, who experienced a flurry of movement in the beginning that has now died down. Still, there were big moves that were made that will impact the upcoming season for good or ill.

Before identifying these moves however, there’s recently been some discussion on the timid nature of MLS to sign off on them. This stems largely from the leagues desire to hold on to it’s young star talent(s).

While this is understandable, MLS is no where near becoming a hive of current talent stars. What I mean by this is MLS needs to make a name for itself. A good way to do that is by exporting your talent to make a name in other leagues. Some people like to term this as the ripple effect. When one player (or more) does well outside MLS, it creates a grounds for mutual respect.

If Major League Soccer continues to bully buyers into higher prices when not justified, it creates a poor image for itself. We almost saw this during the most recent transfer window. I’m not telling them what to do, just raising a cautious voice. There is no reason why at this stage, MLS cannot be an exporter of talent instead of an importer. The league does not want to destroy what it already has outside, only to maintain its composure inside. But I digress.

Here are five transfers that top our list from this window.

1. Brek Shea to Stoke City – Had to be, right? First the fallout with the coach, then the drama over a price. But in the end with arguably the biggest transfer of the window, Shea has left for greener – well, hopefully – pastures at Stoke. Is Shea ready for the EPL? Time will tell, but there’s tons of potential to be realized in Shea that required a move. He was getting bored in Dallas. Perhaps that won’t be the case in the EPL. We’ll be watching with great interest.

2. Eric Hassli to FC Dallas – This is a move that is currently on the table, and by the time you’re reading this could very well be completed. Certainly a shrewd move, the forward can find plenty of time in Dallas now that Shea is gone. We all remember his goal-that-should-have-won-Best-Goal-but-didn’t. It will be exciting if he can do that again after being frustrated at Toronto.

3. Andy Najar to Anderlecht – As a DC United faithful, it’s hard for me to see him go. There’s no doubt that his time has come. He’s very talented and Anderlecht were impressed enough to pursue his asking price. He should do quite well there. Also, he’s one of the few Homegrown talents from MLS to see a future in Europe, so massive congratulations there.

4. Kei Kamara to Norwich – The Sierra Leone man probably deserves this reward for his good play at Sporting Kansas City. The question surrounding him is can he handle both the physicality of the EPL and the elevated technical skills necessary to successfully operate in the league? He won’t get five shots in order to score on the sixth in the EPL. He will have to elevate his game to find success at Norwich, which will require humility on his part as he seeks a starting spot on the team. In the past, this has been tricky for him but I believe he can rise to the occasion.

5. Juninho to New York Red Bulls – For $8 Million this oldie-but-goodie better prove his worth. Reports out of the Red Bulls camp are that he’s already grabbed the set piece title out of Henry. NYRB fans grow impatient, and with a new coach and several new faces could this year be the year that New York finally gets a trophy? The man called the Maestro could be a large part of whether or not that happens.

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1 Comment on "MLS Winter Transfers: Ranking the top 5 deals"

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  1. Joe Goss says:

    Should make for an interesting season.

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