Despite a very good performance at the World Cup, U.S. national team midfielder Benny Feilhaber still is laboring with a club in the Danish second division. It's a difficult situation for a player who deserves better, and is emblematic of a lack of real interest from European clubs in American players, many of whom did well in South Africa.
Feilhaber's purgatory may not last much longer, however, at least according to his agent. Lyle Yorks, who was a pro in the 1990s before moving on to represent a host of American soccer's biggest names, told MLS's Web site that Feilhaber has piqued interest at "another Danish club, a Swiss club and in Germany." But there are no "official offers" on the table, Yorks said, and Feilhaber will be tied to relegated AGF Aarhus until at least January unless one comes in before next Tuesday.
Feilhaber played 90 minutes for Aarhus on Wednesday in a Danish Cup match. The club is tied for second in the second division at 2-0-1. But Feilhaber is hoping to miss out on the promotion battle. "The intent is there to sell me. They want to try to get some money for me," he told the Associated Press two weeks ago prior to the U.S.-Brazil friendly in New Jersey.
"I'd like to go somewhere so I could play on a first-division team ... All in all, me and the team both want to try to get something done, but as of now there hasn't been any official offer yet. There's been interest from teams and I've just really got to wait it out, I guess, and see if something is going to happen toward the end of the month."
The end of the month is approaching, and it's surprising that there hasn't been more tangible interest in a 25-year-old midfielder with legitimate skills and field vision. His affect on the national team during his reserve appearances at the World Cup was obvious.
He entered at halftime of the first round games against Slovenia and Algeria and the round-of-16 match against Ghana. The U.S. was better during each of those halves, and Feilhaber played a significant role through his composure and distribution. The Americans outscored the opposition 4-1 during his 165 minutes on the field.
Feilhaber's difficulty finding a new club is emblematic of the indifference toward U.S. players on the whole. There were kind words for the national team during and after the World Cup, but there aren't many clubs stepping up to put their checkbook where their mouth is. Carlos Bocanegra went from Rennes to French rival Saint-Étienne, but that was a move in the works for about six months. Defender Jonathan Bornstein secured a postseason move from Chivas USA to Mexico's Tigres UANL, and Herculez Gomez swapped Puebla for Pachuca.
This week, reports have surfaced that DaMarcus Beasley, formerly with Rangers, is set to join U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo at Hannover 96 in the Bundesliga. Beasley tweeted Thursday that "Guess it's time to start learning a new language" and "happy its all coming together."
But that's about it. Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Robbie Findley appear set to finish out the MLS season. Defender Jay DeMerit was released by Watford and remains without a club. Jozy Altidore is back with Villarreal after no loan deals were worked out. Brad Guzan is still a backup at Aston Villa, Jonathan Spector is on the bench at West Ham, Clarence Goodson is stuck in Norway at IK Start and speculation that Michael Bradley might be enticed to leave Borussia Mönchengladbach for a European heavyweight proved fruitless.
DeMerit said in a Football League podcast that he is "open to most of Europe, and I'm still even, to be honest, open to going back to the States ... It was nice to have a break but now it's getting to the point where you want to try and get something sorted out."
And of course, Oguchi Onyewu is playing (or sitting the bench) for free at AC Milan.
Perhaps it's a symptom of an economy that is affecting everyone but Manchester City, or perhaps all the aforementioned players, except Feilhaber and DeMerit, are happy with their situations. Either way, it's been a relatively quiet transfer window for America's World Cup 23.