Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Player Comings and Goings(?)

The Rapids announced the signing of Greg Dalby today, their first round pick from the 2007 draft. Before the draft Dalby made it known that he was probably going to try to go to Europe, and he spent last year bouncing around on trials with Celtic, FC Nuremberg, Siena, and a contract deal with Preston North End that fell apart at the last minute. He finally signed for Charleroi in the Belgium First Division during the midsseason transfer window. After not being able to get on at another team this offseason he came back to MLS.

Dalby joins a crowded central midfield with LaBrocca, DiRaimondo, Ballouchy, and Christian Gomez all in line in front of him. He'll have his work cut out for him if he wants to see any time with the first team.

You'll notice the absence of Pablo Mastroeni in that list. In recent interviews Pablo has stated his desire to finally try his luck in Europe, and recently he has said he'd prefer to go over their in the current transfer window that closes on August 15th rather than wait until the end of the MLS season to try to join a European team in the middle of their season. He has been linked recently with Caligari in Serie A, Livorno in Serie B, and Aston Villa in the EPL.

Pablo is not an easy player to replace. LaBrocca and DiRaimondo have stepped up to take over the defensive midfield position, givng Clavijo the freedom to play Pablo on the back line, a place that sorely needed some veteran leadership. If Pablo leaves it will be up to Erpen and Ihemelu to control the backline, at least until Petke gets healthy. While the Ihemelu/Erpen/Petke combo might be enough to get us through this season, an obvious offseason need will be a central defender. We'll also lose the veteran leadership Pablo brings tot he team, and in a team that's quite young, it will be up to the likes of Cooke and Christian Gomez to step up and fill that void.

I wish Pablo all the best if this is his dream. I notice that it comes at a time when he's been moved back to central defense. In past years when he's played on the back line we've heard other mutterings about him wanting to leave, but this is the first time he's been openly talking about them. Just a coincidence, has he finally gotten fed up with Clavijo (being the only remaining Rapid from the Hankinson era), or has he just realized at a month short of his 32nd birthday that its now or never?

1 comment:

Jester said...

I've heard that the Rapids were shopping pablo around pretty aggressively this last off season. I wouldn't be suprised if Clavijo has told him that they aren't going to offer him a new contract at the end of the season.