American dream

news: American dream

FOLLOWING last week’s report on a planned European Super League, latest news concerns another extraordinary twist in the financial monopoly stakes that could soon see top Premiership sides competing in the US.

It appears that the American Soccer League (MLS) – top side DC United – is not adverse to selling franchises in their competition abroad. The revolutionary move came to light with leading Mexican club Guadalajara signing an agreement for the 2005 MLS season, which will see Chivas-USA starting to play in the American regular season in a few weeks’ time. Top Guadalajara players have been switched to the Los Angeles-based sister side which retains the same red and white striped shirts donned in Mexico.

There is little cash available for what is considered a minority sport in the States and approaches are now believed to be underway to involve high-profile European clubs in the scheme. In all likelihood, this would take the shape of Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal developing academy sides – Blues-USA, Red Devils-USA, Gunners-USA – across the Atlantic. The advantages are both of a financial and practical nature. Such moves would provide a great opportunity to break into the lucrative fan article and merchandising market, something Manchester are already doing with their business link-up with the New York Yankees baseball outfit. A direct presence in the Big Apple would provide a major boost to this enterprise. Further take-over moves by American gridiron team owner, Malcolm Glasier, only serve to give this scenario even greater credibility.

On the pitch, major clubs would have the chance to develop young players, park those surplus to requirements until needed and have first crack at young American talent such as the now 15-year-old Freddy Adu, the highest-paid player in the MLS. Many observers are convinced that Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich is already operating such a strategy at an unofficial level with strong interests and representations at CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Tblisi and Corinthians in Brazil. A move to invest in Dutch club Feyenoord has been rejected recently. A move west into America would merely serve to give other clubs a similar opportunity.