Friday, November 21, 2014

Exclusive: An honest talk with Amobi Okugo

(Via MLSsoccer.com)



MLS Transfers had a talk with star Union midfielder, Amobi Okugo about the past season, where his future lies and his MLS MVP.

(This interview has been slightly edited for longevity purposes)

MLS Transfers: This Union team brought in some talented new players in 2014, so why didn't you guys make the playoffs this year?

Okugo: I think we just fell short. If we look at the games throughout the season I think we competed in all of them except maybe the LA Galaxy blowout. For the most part I feel like we competed hard except for little lapses whether it was a 5 minute span here, or a 12 minute span against Columbus. Throughout 90 minutes we'd fall asleep and we'd get punished for it. We had a lot of good players, a deep squad, the talent to do well, but the focus in crucial moments in various games punished us.

MLS Transfers: How would you rate your individual performance this season?

Okugo: I thought it was pretty good, I played both centerback and center midfield. I was consistent in the beginning of the season with Austin Berry but unfortunately, Austin got a little knock and then we had to shuffle the back line. I think that affected our backline as a whole and affected my partnership (with other players). But we did well to manage. Curtin came in and we had a little talk and he told me he wanted me to hold down the center midfield position. It took a couple games to get adjusted but once I got my groove down I think I played pretty well and as the season went on, I think I improved as a player.

MLS Transfers: Where have you seen yourself grow since your rookie year in the league?

Okugo: Just being able to take care of your body, what to eat, doing yoga, recovery, massages, all the little things that help you as a player - I think I've grown tremendously in that area. I've been working on weaknesses as well, whether its working on the left foot for 15 minutes after practice or working on head balls. When I was at centerback I was working on my aerial duels a lot. As a center-mid, I'm looking to switch the field more often. But you always have to be your biggest critic to get better, I've learned that as I've gotten older.

MLS Transfers: Let's get down to the gist of it. Have you had any talks with anyone in the Front Office yet about what's happening next year?

Okugo: Yeah, we had our end of the year meetings, they went well and we talked about what they have in mind for next year. There's all these reports coming out about a bona fide offer but I haven't gotten any offer, maybe they are talking to my agent who is actually dealing with that kind of stuff.

MLS Transfers: So you haven't officially gotten an offer from Philly yet for next season?

Okugo: No. I have not received any offer directly from the Union.

MLS Transfers: Have you heard about any interest abroad?

Okugo: Yeah, there's interest but it's all about me at the age of 23 taking the right steps and doing what's best for you. There's options within MLS and Europe, I'm just trying to take my time in the offseason training hard still, and letting my agent handle that situation.

MLS Transfers: Where do you think you'll end up? What does your gut say?

Okugo: Personally, God willing, I think I'll end up in the best situation for me. I don't want to be too revealing but if Philly makes an offer, I've always stated that I want to win something for the club and fans and I regret not having won a trophy for them and wanted so bad to win the Open Cup, but I've also said that my dream is to play in Europe to improve my chance of making the national team. We'll see what happens, I'm enjoying my options right now.

MLS Transfers: When will a decision be made on your future?

Okugo: I don't want to put a timetable on it but I don't want to be lollygagging around, I want to have an idea of what's happening. My goal is sometime before Christmas but we'll see how everything plays out because MLS teams have a lot going on with the expansion draft and all the other drafts.

MLS Transfers: An article written this week (by Dave Zeitlin*) said that Jim Curtin had a good idea that you wouldn't be back next year. Any comment on that?

Okugo: A lot of people are saying things about me but nothing's coming from me or from my agent, I don't know. I haven't gotten an offer so if they think I'm not going to come back, it's because of that. Again, you never really know what's going to happen.

MLS Transfers: Lee Nugyen. Oba Martins or Robbie Keane. Who are you taking for MVP?

Okugo: I'll give it to Obafemi. They (Seattle) won two trophy's already but I want to give it to Lee because I want an American MVP and he's helped turn around New England.

MLS Transfers: Last question, have you heard anything about a call up to the US National team camp in January or anything from Klinnsman?

Okugo: No, I've haven't anything. It'd be an honor to play with the national team if I ever get the opportunity so we'll just have to see what happens. But I am getting a Nigerian passport just to keep the options open.



*: Article can be found here: http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/11/18/philadelphia-union-want-maurice-edu-back-expect-amobi-okugo-leave-2015



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Euro suitors line up for BWP

New York Red Bull forward Bradley Wright Phillips is garnering some interest overseas after his MVP-like regular season, where he scored 27 goals tying the MLS single season record.

MLS Transfers reported on Deadline Day in August that Championship side Blackpool were interested. Since then, MLS Transfers can confirm there has been more interest in the player. 

A source has identified UEFA Champions league qualifier, Norwegian-based Stromsgodset IF as a potential suitor after a few scouts viewied a couple of his performances in September and October. 

MLS Transfers had also learned a club from Switzerland is monitoring BWP's performances, with a scout watching from Red Bull Arena this past Thursday, where Bradley scored two goals to secure a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. 

More information to come.

UPDATE 11/20/14:

Sources overseas and in the states have informed MLS Transfers that BWP has no shortage of options come January.

As originally reported, English club Blackpool and Norwegian side Stromsgodset IF are still in the running.

A source has said Blackpool could be willing to give New York up to $150k if they can get BWP on loan until the Championship season ends in May, and an extra cash incentive bonus should they not be relegated. Blackpool currently sit dead last 17 games into the season.

Another source has said Stromsgodset IF could offer anywhere between $500-700k to get the MLS leading goal scorer.

MLS Transfers has also learned the Swiss club monitoring BWP has been FC Zurich. Currently in the UEFA Europa League, a source says they want to boost their attack for upcoming matches against Apollon Limassol and Borussia Monchengladbach.

It has also been suggested that a number of undisclosed English, Welsh and Scottish clubs have also been keeping close tabs on the English-born forward.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

German Denis interested in joining Crew

Argentine striker German Denis is interested in a move to Columbus Crew.

It is unclear of how or why at this moment, but MLS Transfers has learned of the 33 year olds interest through an overseas source.

Currently making 1.2 million euros after taxes, it would seem that Denis is looking for his last big pay day in MLS. 

His goal record could have Crew fans salivating as he has 57 goals in the past 130 Serie A matches and lead Atalanta in scoring since the 2011-2012 season. He was also rumored to be a last minute addition to Juventus just 2 months ago as they were looking to add striker depth. 

More details soon. 

EDIT: This transfer doesn't seem like it would happen until the end of the Serie A season, as German's contract is up in June 2015.