JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW DILEMMAS
The January 2020 transfer window has been open for a couple of weeks now, and several European-based Americans are in need of moves to jumpstart their careers.
At the stroke of midnight on January 1, teams across Europe began their shopping to bring in new players in hopes of either enhancing their chances of winning their respective leagues, a spot in European competition or put up a fight to avoid relegation.
While there may be some well-known players that grace the front pages of newspapers and websites on moves to other teams throughout the month, there are also a crop of Americans who are in need of a change of scenery to get their careers back on track.
With that said, here are six players who should be looking to make moves during the winter window.
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
There was a time when the 6-4 netminder was in contention to be the No.1 goalkeeper for the US national team alongside Zack Steffen. How times have changed, as now he finds himself once again playing understudy to another goalkeeper, this time former Liverpool shot-stopper Simon Mignolet.
Since making the move to the Jupiler League back in January 2017, Horvath's play between the posts has been inconsistent, which ultimately led to him being benched on two occasions before earning his way back into the starting eleven. He has had his moments in the spotlight, but it hasn't been enough to impress.
There is no doubt that at 24 years old the Colorado native should be playing week in and week out, and while it is admirable that he may want to stay and fight for the starting spot, it's quite clear that Brugge did not spend eight million dollars for Mignolet to sit on the bench. A move away from the Belgian champions in the winter transfer window should be in the cards. The question is which team would be willing to free him from his misery.
There has been no chatter about any teams showing interest, but the longer he stays on the bench and not playing, the further he'll disappear from the US national team picture.
Kenny Saief (Anderlecht)
It was just a few years ago when the winger was playing regularly at KAA Gent and expressing his desire to play for the United States. Then a move to multi-time Jupiler League champions Anderlecht and call ups to the national team put more of spotlight on the Israeli-American.
However, what has hurt the 26-year-old's progress is injuries. A variety of muscle ailments, along with groin surgery that kept him sidelined for three months, has limited his play on the field. Even a short loan stint to FC Cincinnati in Major League Soccer didn't do much to get him back into form as the injury bug hit him again.
Upon returning to Belgium, Saief found himself on the outside looking in as Vincent Kompany took over and brought in his own players. And despite the team playing poorly during the course of this season, he has not been able to fight his way back into the first team.
Saief is in need of a move away from Anderlecht as it is obvious the team does not have him in their plans going forward. According to reports, his agent Dudu Dahan has mentioned a move back to Israel could be in the cards. However, would a move back to the Israeli Premier League keep him in contention for a spot with the national team?
A move to another Belgian team or heading across the border to the Netherlands could also be viable options, but he will have to show teams that he has overcome his injury woes.
Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu (Rennes)
The French-Cameroonian-American remains a mystery to many in the United States that have followed his career. After banging away goals for Stade Reims to help them earn promotion back to Ligue 1, the team decided to accept an offer from Rennes.
However, entering his second season with the team, the 23-year-old has found life difficult. Injuries and playing sparingly has stunted his development. And this is worrying as he would be at the top of the striker pool should he commit to playing for the US.
Rennes are currently challenging for a Champions League place for next season, and despite overcoming his injury problems, it is questionable as to how much of a role he will play in the team in the second half of the season. He is a talented forward, so a short-term loan could do the trick as he could earn more playing time and get his goal-scoring touch back.
With the chance to represent France looking even more impossible, Earnie Stewart, Brian McBride, and Gregg Berhalter had better keep this kid on the radar because when the goals start coming again, it's going to be hard to contain him.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham)
With the early termination of another loan, this time with Stoke City, and no chance of breaking into the line-up at Tottenham Hotspur, the writing is clearly on the wall for the center-back that it is time to move on from the London-based team.
The move to Stoke was a bad one, and the 22-year-old cannot be blamed for it. The Potters have been on a downward trajectory since their former coach Mark Hughes was fired back in January 2018. The signing of high-profile players during their Premier League, and still having one of the highest payrolls despite playing in the second tier, has hurt the team when it comes to recruitment.
In addition, the hiring of seven different coaches following the firing of Hughes has not helped Stoke in the slightest as they appear to be headed towards relegation to League One. So it was a blessing for Carter-Vickers to get out of that situation.
But what's the next move for the English-American?
Recent reports have revealed that Derby County are interested in bringing the him in on loan. It could be a good move for the second half of the season as the Rams are currently on a surge in the Championship as they look to challenge for a promotion play-off spot.
Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Let's face it, Bobby Wood is at a nadir point in his career. It seemed like everything was on the up for the now 27-year-old forward after his strong performances with Union Berlin that led to a transfer to Hamburg.
However, his stock has fallen dramatically since scoring nine goals in all competitions for Die Rothosen in the 2016-2017 season. He has not replicated the form he showed during his 17-goal season with the capital team.
The Hawaii-native followed up his maiden season by only producing three goals. Combine that with the overall poor play of Hamburg and it led to their relegation from the German top flight for the first time in its history.
A season-long loan to Hannover in 2018 did no help for either him or the team as they were sent back to the 2. Bundesliga. He ended up only scoring three goals during his time with them.
Now back at his parent club, Wood finds himself stuck on the bench. He's only appeared in six games this campaign, showing that the coach is comfortable with the options he has playing right now.
Wood should be at the peak of his career now, which would have been vital for the US national team as they are in need of goal-scoring forwards. But does he even care at this time or is he content with just collecting a paycheck?
A change of environment would be best for the former 1860 Munich man, but whether he has the desire to move on and show off his talents is anyone's guess. At this point, a move to Major League Soccer would be the only option, but it's doubtful any team would want to sign him, especially when they would have to pay a high salary.
Mix Diskerud (Manchester City)
The Norwegian-American will never see the field for Manchester City, obviously, but that has not stopped him from showing his quality in Asia over the past two seasons.
The 29-year-old became one of the rare Americans to move to South Korea's K League 1 in 2018, and showed how integral he was to Ulsan Hyundai's campaign as he helped them qualify for the AFC Asian Champions League.
Diskerud followed up his debut season with the Tigers by helping them come very close to winning the league this past season, only to fall short on the last day in a loss to Pohang Steelers, thus giving the crown to rivals Jeonbuk Motors. And their loss showed just how much he was missed in their midfield as he had to serve a suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
The midfielder would go on to finish the season with nine goals in all competitions.
The former NYCFC player could still do the job for a team in Europe, but would there be any takers based off what he has done in the past two seasons in South Korea?