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Will Onyewu Actually Play for AC Milan?

It's probably good when one of Europe's glamor sides attempts ↵to quell a riot by announcing they've signed an American, right? ↵That's what AC Milan did today by signing American ↵centerback/battleship Oguchi Onyewu. Cue the mother of all mixed responses. ↵
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↵Every US National Team fan's immediate reaction: OMFG awesome! ↵Oh sweet Jesus, just let him play. It's nice that the USA has ↵finally landed a player on one of European footie's biggest sides, but ↵we've seen this before with Edu and Adu and Altidore and, hell, even ↵Benny Feilhaber at Derby of all places. Hurrah they've signed ↵him let's all get a beer and celebrate our 2010 World Cup victo—what do ↵you mean he made four appearances? Don't they realize we have a ↵national team to run here?
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↵The USA can't afford to have its A-team idling away on the bench the ↵year before the 2010 World Cup. So let's check out the competition. ↵There's definitely some room with the retirement of club legend Paolo Maldini, ↵the Steve Yzerman of Italian football. Maldini made 32 appearances last ↵year (at age 40!), which are now available. Milan's other options at ↵Onyewu's spot:
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  • Alessandro Nesta, a 33-year-old Italian ↵⇥international who missed all but thirteen minutes of last season with a ↵⇥back issue. He's recently dispelled rumors about retirement.
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  • Kakha Kaladze, a 31-year-old Georgian ↵⇥international who made just 16 appearances last year.
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  • Thiago Silva, a 24-year-old fringe Brazil ↵⇥international who just signed from Fluminese in Brazil and hasn't ↵⇥played a competitive match with Milan yet.
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↵That doesn't seem like an insurmountable mountain for a guy who ↵erases crosses and just raised his stock against the likes of Spain and ↵Brazil, especially if the two creaky old guys come down injured. ↵
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↵Milan's got an automatic entry into the Champions League group stage, ↵too, so there will be plenty of matches to go around. Onyewu should ↵get, what, 20 starts at the bare minimum? It depends heavily on how ↵competent Nesta can be coming off his injury and if Onyewu can ↵outperform Kaladze.
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↵It's a gamble. Not for Onyewu, of course, who's the USA's biggest ↵lock for WC2010 outside of Landon Donovan and Tim Howard, probably ↵making more bank than any Nats field player ever has, and figures to ↵get significant playing time as Nesta and Kaladze near their expiration ↵dates. But it's a gamble for the Nats themselves, who would very much ↵like to see their center-defense stalwart and transfer-approved Best ↵Field Player Ever sharpen his skills against the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and ↵not turn into another rust-afflicted Tin Man like other USA players who reached for the stars and only got splinters.
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↵By the way:
Michael Bradley is socked ↵with a four-game suspension for tracking down and going ↵Drogba on referee Jorge Larrionda after Larrionda ↵bizarrely sent him off in the 87th minute of the Spain game. But thanks ↵to the Gold Cup, Bradley's suspension will be lifted after Wednesday's ↵Honduras game (one game of the suspension is, well, suspended) and ↵Bradley will be available for the USA's August qualifier in Azteca.
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↵Thanks, Gold Cup! You have a point after all.
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↵Also by the way:
Striker Charlie Davies's—who I ↵enjoy referring to as "nippy"—strong Confederations Cup has apparently ↵landed him a gig in the French First Division at ↵Sochaux. Onward and upward, Yanks.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.