Irish national teamer Robbie Keane has been rumored to be heading to Vancouver, but that seems like a longshot at best. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

MLS's Silly Season In Full Swing: Assessing The Foreign Rumors

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The Daily Wiz: Sporting KC Pursuing French Defender Aurelien Collin

It's been known for some time that Sporting Kansas City was close to signing a French player. Andy Edwards of The Daily Wiz now believes that player is 24-year-old French defender Aurelien Collin.

Edwards did his due diligence in finding out all he could on Collin, who is currently playing for Portuguese First Division side Vitoria.

Here's what Edwards thought of Collin after watching some highlights:

Despite the fact that he's on the smaller side of centerbacks in Major League Soccer, Collin defends very aggressively, (within control) especially aerially. He is not afraid to leave the ground to go up and win the ball. Neither does he shy away from going to ground to win the ball with a sweeping slide tackle. That tenacity seems like it would translate to the much more physical playing style of MLS, compared to Portuguese Liga.

Although it's unlikely that Collin would require a Designated Player salary, he would be already the second significant addition to SKC since the end of last season. Omar Bravo was signed during the year, but will make his actual debut next season, as SKC gets ready to move into their new home.


Los Angeles Galaxy Reportedly Serious About Acquiring Ronaldinho

There aren't a lot of sources more reliable than the Washington Post's Steve Goff, and according to him the Los Angeles Galaxy have made a very real effort to acquire AC Milan's Ronaldinho. In fact, their pursuit is now at the point that the Galaxy "doesn't want to wait any longer," according to Goff's source, and are just waiting for Ronaldinho to make a decision about his intentions to join MLS.

The one-time Ballon d'Or winner has somewhat fallen out of favor in Milan, where he hasn't started a Serie A match since Oct. 16 and hasn't scored a regular season goal all season. That five-match stretch has included three straight in which he didn't play.

Still, it's no wonder why the Galaxy would be pursuing one of the most famous players in the world. Not only would he be guaranteed to sell some tickets, he could fit in nicely with an offense that already features David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle.

The main stumbling block - considering money is no object at this point - is whether or not he's willing to come to MLS. Ronaldinho is just 30 and is reportedly drawing interest from LIverpool, as well.


Columbus Crew Boss: 'I Haven't Had Any Discussions' With Brad Friedel

Columbus Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss is throwing some cold water on the rumors of Brad Friedel's imminent return to MLS.

Responding to a report in an English tabloid that said former the United States Men's National Team and current Aston Villa goalkeeper has contacted the Columbus Crew about possibly joining the team as a player/coach, Bliss said this:

"I haven’t had any discussions," Bliss told

It wasn't all bad news for those hoping to see Friedel return to the team where he started his professional career, though. Bliss did reveal that Friedel has been in contact with the Crew in the past during past transfer windows.

"Usually in the transfer window periods he’s called asking, ‘Is there any chance I can get in?’ I think he wants to come home. I don’t know about now, but I can tell you Brad has called, to my knowledge, every July and January or every December the last two years."

Assuming William Hesmer has recovered from his season-ending injury, goalkeeper does not seem to be a position in which the Crew are in much need. Although Hesmer had a bit of a down year last season, he has been one of the league's top goalkeepers over the past four seasons and his just 29.


Robbie Keane-to-Vancouver Rumors Just Won't Quit

Depending on how you choose to look at it, Tottenham Hotspurs striker Robbie Keane is either on his way to MLS and the Vancouver Whitecaps or going nowhere fast. The latest bit of psuedo-news came in the form of Spurs coach Harry Redknapp proclaiming that will be transferred to the highest bidder in January.

"I think he'd like to move - he wants to play, you know?" Redknapp said. "He's not used to not playing. All his career, he's played and been a big player and he wants to play. He could sit here and take his wages, but that's not him.

"He wants to play football. He trains hard, works hard every day, he's shown a great attitude. And probably the hardest decision I had to make was last week: I couldn't get him on the bench.

The two teams to which Keane has been most prominently linked are the Whitecaps and EPL side Aston Villa. Assuming both teams have interest, it's hard to see MLS outbidding an EPL side for a player with Keane's relatively meager namebrand.

As good as Keane has been, he scored 28 goals in 43 matches as recently as 2009-10 season, he's not particularly well known outside of soccer circles. His current salary of about $3 million a year would put him among the top four paid players in MLS, all of whom had considerably more name recognition. Tack on the possibility of the league needing to pay a significant transfer fee, and this starts to feel more and more like wishful thinking on the part of MLS followers.


MLS's Silly Season In Full Swing: Assessing The Foreign Rumors

As happens almost every MLS off-season, lots of names get thrown around as possibly being headed to the United States. Obviously, lots of them never come close to fruition.

Rather than devote precious space to every rumor, I've decided it might be worthwhile to start addressing them here.

Robbie Keane to the Vancouver Whitecaps: This was one of those rumors that seems to be based on assumption and appearances rather than anything concrete. The Sun (of London) sees the Whitecaps ties to Tottenham, considers Keane's lack of playing time and concludes the Irish international is bound for MLS. The problem, as 86 Forever points out, is that Keane has several years left on a contract that pays him about $3 million a year. Even if Tottenham was willing to let Keane go for free, there's really no good reason for Keane to accept anything less than what he's currently making to play in a middling league. That kind of money would make Keane the fourth highest paid player in MLS and would be about $1 million more than players like Landon Donovan make. Are the Whitecaps really going to drop that kind of coin on a player who comes with a fraction of the name recognition as those other comparably paid players? If that wasn't enough to throw cold water on the rumor, there's now reports that he could be heading to Aston Villa. Chances of coming true: I wouldn't count on it.

Ronaldinho to Los Angeles Galaxy: There's nothing new here, but it's still worth mentioning since he's easily the biggest name rumored to be heading stateside. We reported the rumor the Galaxy were ready to offer $10 million a year about a month ago, and there's been other whispers dating farther back, but nothing material has emerged yet. Basically, Ronaldinho is not getting serious much playing time at AC Milan, the Galaxy have lots of money and David Beckham has said he'd like to play alongside the Brazilian. Chance of coming true: I wouldn't totally discount this one, but I'm going to be skeptical until something is a little more official.

Julien Rodriguez to Sporting Kansas City: The French center back is out of contract and SKC has been open about pursuing a European central defender and Rodriguez might cost less than a Designated Player slot. French newspaper La Provence is reporting that Rodriguez is considering the move. He's currently with Olympique Marseille and has played with Glasgow Rangers and AS Manaco. He was once even called up to the French national team, although he didn't play. Chances of coming true: Probably pretty good, as it appears he has limited options in Europe.

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