Rumors link Galaxy's Landon Donovan and U.S. teammate Michael Bradley to AS Roma
Galaxy forward Landon Donovan and Aston Villa midfielder Michael Bradley, both U.S. national team players, reportedly are being targeted as off-season acquisitions by AS Roma of the Italian league.
The Serie A club, currently in sixth place in the league with only one game remaining, recently saw American businessman Thomas DiBenedetto purchase a majority interest in the club. On Wednesday, DiBenedetto appointed Walter Sabatini as the club's sporting director.
DiBenedetto, based in Boston, reportedly already has employed Sabatini, a former Roma player, to "reach out" to the agents for Donovan, 29, and Bradley, 23, and has set aside $14 million to acquire the Galaxy player, the Boston Globe reported, quoting unnamed sources.
Donovan is under contract to Major League Soccer, as are all its players, and earns $2.3 million a year. AS Roma supposedly is willing to match that salary, but whether Donovan would be interested in moving to Italy or whether MLS would accept as little as $14 million for its marquee American player is debatable.
The Galaxy opted not to comment Wednesday, saying only that Donovan and Bruce Arena, the team's coach and general manager, would be available after training Thursday.
Bradley, the son of U.S. national team Coach Bob Bradley, has played only sparingly at Aston Villa since he joined the English Premier League team in January on loan from Borusssia Moenchengladbach in Germany. Of the two, he would be the more likely to be looking for a move.
But the midfielder's agent, Alberto Faccini, denied having been approached by AS Roma or its intermediaries.
"There is not much truth to these rumors and I think this approach is linked to the fact that the new owners are American," Faccini told tuttomercatoweb.
Donovan and Bradley will almost certainly be called up by the national team for the June 5-25 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the U.S. Even if either were interested in an offer from AS Roma, neither could move before the European transfer window opens in mid-July.
As always when the European season draws to a close and summer approaches, the transfer rumors heat up. The difference now from the past is that those rumors now occasionally involve American players.
It does not, however, make them any more credible.
--Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Landon Donovan. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images