With the summer transfer window looming, and this season all but over, it’s time to look ahead and begin considering potential targets for the Magpies.
With this in mind I’d like to discuss a player that many will view as an out of nowhere suggestion; Michael Bradley, a central midfielder currently playing for Toronto FC in the MLS.
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Now, being a diehard Newcastle fan and hailing from the U.S., there is definitely a bit of bias here. However, this is a move that logically makes sense from multiple angles.
For starters, the current Newcastle squad is missing a player like Bradley. When played in his natural holding midfield position, Bradley is world class. The ability to open up the game with a single pass is one that Newcastle has been lacking since Yohan Cabaye’s departure.
Bradley is probably the best passer to ever wear a U.S. jersey. He is the only player for the U.S. who can maintain possession and settle the team down, while also providing coverage for the defensive line. Every time the U.S. gets the ball they try and find Bradley.
This year, Newcastle often has reminded me of the American team (isn’t that terrible?).
There is no one in the squad who can take the ball and methodically work it up the field; the team frequently looks panicked and eventually just boots a long ball. The ever-cool Bradley would provide comfort in the midfield and also open up the game with key passes.
My next point, and an opinion I’ve been passionate about for years, is this; Newcastle fans would love an American football player. Sounds crazy, but stay with me.
What do Geordie fans require from their team? Hard work. Pride in the jersey they wear. Appreciation for their fans. A willingness to scrap for every point despite not having the talent of a true elite club. Those characteristics pretty much sum up the US national team. Going into nearly every game knowing that they don’t have the most talent, the Americans leave it all on the field. They stick their tackles, they play with passion, and they fight.
Bradley embodies all of this; except he actually has some talent. More than most people give him credit for. You want someone who shows up every game, plays hard, and then owns up to his mistakes in the post game press conference? Meet Michael Bradley.
This leads into another point, which is that Bradley still has something to prove.
After a much maligned move to the MLS from Roma, Bradley has fallen down a notch in people’s eyes. This guy is good enough for European soccer and shouldn’t settle for a lesser league.
His national team manager, Jurgen Klinnsmann, desperately wants his players in the elite leagues. If Newcastle comes calling, I bet Bradley would pounce at the opportunity.
There are also positive business implications (you’re welcome, Mike Ashley) for a Michael Bradley move. Newcastle recently announced that they are considering a pre-season tour of America, with the intention of increasing the fan base over here in the states.
If this is truly a goal, then let me say this; there is no better way to increase an American fan base than by getting an American player. Football fans in the U.S. are so desperate for their players to experience success in the elite leagues that they will become immediate supporters of any team that invests in an American. This is especially true for the Premier League, which is the league most Americans relate to and support the most. A Newcastle team that features Michael Bradley will make the Magpies America’s favorite team.
There you have it, my Michael Bradley proposal. I know the chances of this happening are next to none, but I think it would be an incredible move for the current team and the organization as a whole.
Worth a shot, right?