Monday, December 11, 2006

ADU OUT: Brilliant? Or Just Weird?

The biggest transfer (or as they say in this country, "trade") in Major League Soccer history just went down: Adu from DC United to Real Salt Lake, bundled with reserve (but seasoned) 'keeper Rimando, in exchange for a "major allocation" and various other parting gifts. ("Future considerations" is one of my favorite terms in sports-biz.)

Is this an ingenious Machiavellian move by United's Petr Nowak, or just another odd chapter in the dysfunctional relationship between sometime-wonderboy Adu and his hometown club? I don't know enough about the inscrutable player-acquisition rules in MLS, which in any case seem to consist of whatever Don Garber says they consist of on a given day, to know. But I would hazard a guess that this might be a more bizarre move on RSL's part than anything.

United will use the allocation slot (and suddenly untrodden vistas of salary-cap room) to snap up some young Latin American talent. The Royal Utahan Mounted Police will get a short-term blast of major-media publicity...which, hmm, just may or may not have been an incentive, given their politically fraught quest for a subsidized stadium on some blasted patch of Salt Lake exurbia. They'll get a bump to their gate, which is already quite respectable. And then—well, Man United may not buy Freddy come June, but someone will. Will RSL get a taste of the transfer fee, or does that all stay in New York? Or do potential EuroMillions fall into that "further considerations" category?

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