Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bradley's Future Uncertain After Villa Snub

For USA midfielder Michael Bradley, it has been a chastening few months. A battle against relegation with Borussia Mochengladbach was cut short by a loan move to Premier League side Aston Villa that many seemed to feel was the logical next step in Bradley's career; unfortunately, it wasn't.

 A starter for his father's United States team, Bradley was unable to fend off competition from Jean Makoun, Steve Sidwell and Stiliyan Petrov for a place in holding midfield. Instead, the American remained on the bench, making just four appearances for the Villains, with only one of the four a start.

Currently representing team USA at the Gold Cup, Bradley's Aston Villa nightmare was brought to an end earlier today, when Alex McLeish informed him that he wasn't in the club's plans for next season. Now Bradley must return to Mochengladbach, where is future is anything but clear cut.

"The other stuff will have time to take care of itself. I've got a year left on my contract there, so we'll see what happens. If something comes up that's good for Gladbach and good for me, we'll look at it. Otherwise, I'll spend another year at Gladbach," said Bradley when pressed about his future, clearly the midfielder is a little less than sure about where he will be playing next season.

However, Bradley's future employers are not the only source of doubt in the young man's career, many would argue that Bradley has yet to discover his best position. When he made his breakthrough at Heerenveen, Bradley played in a more advanced role in midfield, but over the years he has dropped deeper and deeper, and now for the National Team he is playing just behind very defensive minded midfielder Jermain Jones.

There is no doubt that Bradley has dynamism in attack, so why he has dropped back totally eludes me. However, Bob Bradley seems to have his mind set on a very deep lying position for his son, so unless  Bradley's next club team push him forward to great effect, that his where he will reside for the remainder of his career.

But where will the remainder of that career be played out? Bradley has proved himself as capable of competing in high level Bundesliga competition, so if he does move it will either be to another club in Germany or to one of the big three European leagues. The Premier League looked an obvious destination for Bradley, his aggressive and tenacious style of play fits the English game to a tee, but the American's failure at Aston Villa raised a few question marks about his ability to play in the World's most popular league. As far as potential destinations go, Everton have proved in the past that they are not averse to signing up American talent, and Fulham have developed a reputation of being a hot bed of American internationals over the past few years.

I really can't see Bradley moving to either the Serie A or La Liga, though he has been linked to Roma, technically he simply isn't good enough. A return to MLS is probably out of the question too, at this point in his career, it would be a step backwards for Bradley to move back to his home country. What all fans of Bradley and the American game must fear, is that Bradley will end up as another European journeyman, bouncing from club to club without success, and eventually finishing his career in MLS, as the last of his legs slowly begin to go. Bradley is a player capable of bringing US football to new heights in Europe, it would be a great boon to those attempting to promote the game, if the American were to make a name for himself at a top level European club.

Until the end of the United States' Gold Cup campaign, we are unlikely to learn anything more about the future of one of America's brightest young talents. Lets only hope that when the time for a move does come, Bradley is well advised, and he makes a decision beneficial to his burgeoning career.

1 comment:

  1. Where will Bradley be next season?

    What is his best position?

    Feel free to comment.