Coming off the best year in what has been an up-and-down career, Edson Buddle is reportedly close to signing with his first ever European team. Soccer by Ives is citing "sources" that say the Los Angeles Galaxy striker is one his way to Germany to sign with 2. Bundesliga team FC Ingolstadt, a team currently battling relegation.
Buddle is currently out of contract with the Galaxy, which means they won't be compensated and, in a best-case scenario, wouldn't be available to return to the Galaxy until the end of May. Although it seems unlikely that a team on the verge of being relegated to the third division would sign a foreigner to a longterm contract, Buddle could be taking this deal as a way of opening up more opportunities in Europe. Buddle made almost $190,000 with the Galaxy last year, but has never seen a big payday.
At 29 years old and having spent his entire career in the United States, it would seem Buddle sees this as his best chance to ever to test his skills abroad and maybe get his first big contract. He is coming off a year in which he scored 19 goals in 28 matches (including two in the playoffs) and made his World Cup debut. That could be the capper on a MLS career that has seen him score 98 MLS goals (including playoffs) over 10 sometimes injury-plagued seasons.
The Galaxy, meanwhile, suddenly find themselves looking thin at forward. They have already traded away Tristan Bowen, who mostly filled in for Buddle during the World Cup last year, and have been unable to come to contract terms with Juan Pablo Angel, who was acquired in the Re-Entry Draft. Signing Angel, the only MLS player with a better strike rate than Buddle over the past four seasons, would seem to be the top priority of a team that has gone from having an embarrassment of riches to one that has no natural scoring forward. Landon Donovan could conceivably fill the void, but he has spent significantly more time in the midfield and would still likely need to be paired with a target forward.
One other option could include bringing in a player from outside the organization. The losses of Buddle, Chris Klein (retired), Dema Kovalenko (option declined) and Eddie Lewis (retired) have cleared more than $500,000 off the Galaxy's salary budget. It's impossible to know for sure, but a rough look at their cap situation suggests the Galaxy have as much as $600,000 in available cap space (once the increased budget is accounted for).