EUROPE: Bradley appears set for Italian move

August, 30, 2011
8/30/11
1:52
PM PT

Michael Bradley's torturous summer is apparently coming to an end. The embattled midfielder is reportedly close to signing with Italy's Chievo Verona.


Bradley, 24, who evolved into a midfield force for the U.S. national team under his father's command, has been a man almost without a team since the last European season ended in May. He saw virtually no playing time during a loan spell at Aston Villa, and when the English Premier League side declined its option, he went back to German straggler Borussia M÷nchengladbach, which no longer wanted him.

Add in his father, Manhattan Beach-based Bob Bradley, being dismissed as U.S. coach -- and a reportedly heated argument with former U.S. star (now Fox Soccer analyst) Eric Wynalda during the Gold Cup that depicted him poorly -- and it's not been a great few months.

But a move to Verona, on the eve of the close to Europe's summer transfer window, could be a huge step forward for the big central midfielder, who signed a Major League Soccer contract at 16 and emerged during two seasons in Holland with Heerenveen before joining Gladbach in 2008.

Chievo Verona, which is hoping to begin its Serie A campaign on Sept. 11 -- the Italian league is in labor stoppage that wiped out last weekend's scheduled openers -- has had little real success in its 82 years (three European campaigns), is lightly supported (lower-tier Hellas Verona has better support in the region) and has no big names. With the competition available in Serie A, it's the perfect place for an American looking to develop.

Reports in Europe have Bradley, who was previously linked to American-owned AS Roma, agreeing to a two-year deal with a transfer fee of about $2.9 million.

EUROPA, EUROPA: Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra scored his first goal for Rangers FC, but it didn't make enough difference for the Scottish champions in a UEFA Europa League playoff against Slovenia's NK Maribor. The 1-1 second-leg draw doomed the Blues to a 3-2 aggregate loss. In short succession, they were eliminated from the top-tier Champions League and the secondary Europa, ending their European campaign just as it was starting. Not just disappointing, but bad for business.

Belgium's RSC Anderlecht, with Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestan, and Tottenham, with former UCLA star Brad Friedel on the bench, won Europa League playoffs to advance to the three-month group stage. Anderlecht was drawn into Group L with Greece's AEK Athens, Russia's Lokomotiv Moscow and Austria's Sturm Graz; Tottenham is in Group A with Russia's Rubin Kazan, Greece's PAOK Thessaloniki and Ireland's Shamrock Rovers. Both begin group play Sept. 10 against Greeks.

LAST-DITCH: Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan looks to lead Armenia in must-win road games in qualifying for next year's European Championship. The Lernakanner are 2-2-2 for fourth place in Group B, and they need victories Friday at Andorra and Sept. 6 at Slovakia to keep their faint hopes for Ukraine/Poland alive.

Ireland, captained by new Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, Russia and Slovakia are 4-1-1, five points ahead of Armenia with four games to go. Andorra (0-6-0) is one of Europe's minnows; Movsiyan's goal started a 3-1 win over Slovakia in Yerevan last October.

The group winner will qualify for Euro 2012 and the second-place team likely will go to a playoff for an additional berth. (One of the nine second-place group finishers will qualify automatically.) Even with wins, Armenia stands little chance of reaching the top two: It closes with games next month at home against Macedonia (1-4-1) and in Dublin against Ireland.

WORTH NOTING: Bocanegra made his Scottish Premier League debut, going the full 90 in Rangers' win over Aberdeen, and fellow American newcomer Alejandro Bedoya came off the bench. ... Former UCLA forward Brad Rusin scored his second goal of the season for Denmark's HB K°ge. ... Edin D~eko scored four goals to ruin Friedel's home debut for Tottenham, a 5-1 loss to Manchester City. Friedel has surrendered eight goals in Spurs' first two English Premier League games. ... Kljestan missed a would-be winning penalty kick in Anderlecht's Belgian league draw at Club Brugge.
  • AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE

D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a goal in the 75th minute, in a 1-1 playoff-round draw Thursday vs. NK Maribor (Slovenia), which eliminated Gers from the UEFA Europa League; 90 minutes as the first-place Blues (4-0-1) won, 2-0, Sunday vs. Aberdeen
Season: 2 UEFA games (2 starts) with 1 goal; 1 league game (1 start); 4 games (4 starts) with one goal for all clubs
Next: With the U.S. national team for games Friday vs. Costa Rica at Home Depot Center and Sept. 6 vs. Belgium in Brussels; Rangers' next game is Sept. 10 at seventh-place Dundee United (1-2-3)

F TRISTAN BOWEN (Van Nuys)
Club:
KSV Roeselare (Belgium, Tweedeklasse)
Last week: Loaned from Chivas USA
Season: 0 games
Next: Sunday at third-place Eendracht Aalst (1-0-1)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Borussia M÷nchengladbach (Germany, Bundesliga)
Last week: Not on the 18-man roster as the fifth-place Fohlen (2-1-1) lost, 1-0, Sunday at Schalke 04; finalizing a transfer to Chievo Verona of Italy's Serie A
Season: 0 games
Next: Gladbach's next game is Sept. 10 vs. 17th-place Kaiserslautern (0-2-2); Chievo hopes to open its season Sept. 11 vs. Novara, if the players and owners reach agreement on a new labor deal

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes in a 1-1 playoff-round draw Thursday vs. NK Maribor (Slovenia), which eliminated Gers from the UEFA Europa League; 90 minutes, with a second-half yellow card, as the first-place Blues (4-0-1) won, 2-0, Sunday vs. Aberdeen
Season: 4 UEFA games (4 starts); 4 league games (4 starts) with 1 goal; 8 games (8 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: With the U.S. national team for games Friday vs. Costa Rica at Home Depot Center and Sept. 6 vs. Belgium in Brussels; Rangers' next game is Sept. 10 at seventh-place Dundee United (1-2-3)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (UCLA)
Club:
Tottenham (England, Premier League)
Last week: Was on the 18-man roster but did not play in a 0-0 draw Thursday at Hearts (Scotland), which gave the North Londoners a 5-0 aggregate victory in the UEFA Europa League playoffs; 90 minutes, with 4 saves, as last-place Spurs (0-2-0) lost, 5-1, Sunday vs. Manchester City
Season: 2 league games (2 starts) with 8 goals against and 15 saves
Next: Sept. 10 at fifth-place Wolverhampton (2-0-1)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw Thursday vs. Bursaspor (Turkey), which gave the Mauves a 4-3 aggregate victory in a UEFA Europa League playoff; 90 minutes, with a missed penalty kick, as seventh-place RSCA (2-1-2) drew, 1-1, Sunday at Club Brugge
Season: 2 UEFA games (2 starts); 4 league games (4 starts) with 1 goal; 6 games (6 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Sept. 11 vs. sixth-place KV Kortrijk (2-1-2)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes as the ninth-place Bulls (6-8-8) lost, 5-0, Sunday at Zenit St. Petersburg
Season: 17 league games (12 starts) with 4 goals, 18 games (12 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: With Armenia's national team for 2012 European Championship qualifiers Friday at Andorra and Sept. 6 at Slovakia; next Krasnodar match is Sept. 10 vs. fourth-place Rubin Kazan (10-4-8)

D BRAD RUSIN (UCLA)
Club:
HB K°ge (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a 58th-minute goal, as the last-place Swans (1-6-0) lost, 4-1, to AaB Aalborg
Season: 5 league games (5 starts) with 2 goals
Next: Sept. 11 at ninth-place Brondby (1-3-3)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Was on the 18-man roster but did not play for eighth-place Paderborn (2-2-2) in a 0-0 draw Sunday at Eintracht Frankfurt
Season: 4 league games (1 start) with 1 goal; 5 games (3 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sept. 9 vs. last-place Alemannia Aachen (0-4-2)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club:
TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Was on the 18-man roster but did not play for the fourth-place Lions (4-2-0) in a 3-1 win Sunday vs. Union Berlin
Season: 0 games
Next: Sept. 11 at second-place St. Pauli (4-1-1)

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