American dreams: Top 5 MLS to EPL signings

Not really known for it’s exports, Major League Soccer has been more accustomed to big named stars from European football Gracing their presence in the twilight of their careers, players like Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Thierry Henry and most recently Zlatan Ibrahimovic and our own Wayne Rooney. However with Newcastle United signing Miguel Almiron from one of the MLS’s newest outfits Atlanta United its changed this trend. With the MLS being back underway this weekend we take a look at the top 5 signings to make their way across the Atlantic to these shores.

  1. Clint Dempsey

Signed by Fulham from the New England Revolution in 2007, Dempsey went on to score 50 goals for the Cottagers in his 5 years in West London where he helped guide Fulham to the UEFA Cup final in 2010, which ended in a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid. He still remains the club’s highest Premier League goalscorer ahead of fellow American Brian McBride. In 2012, the Texan was transferred to Tottenham where he scored 7 goals before he returned home to the U.S. the following season with the Seattle Sounders. In 2014 Dempsey returned to Fulham on loan but failed to add to his goal tally in England. With 57 goals in England, Clint Dempsey is the highest scoring American in any of Europe’s top leagues and showed that American players could be relied upon to score goals, something that hadn’t been seen at that time.

2. Brad Friedel

The American moved across the pond after he was signed by Liverpool in 1997 and had a tremendous 18-year stint in the Premier League also playing for Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham, where he collectively racked up 479 appearances. Friedel originally had 3 failed transfers to the Premier League with Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United and Sunderland due to work permit issues. He was finally cleared to move following a successful appeal to play for Liverpool after signing from Columbus Crew. Blackburn’s League Cup victory against Spurs in 2002 was the only trophy Friedel won during his time in England, that same season he made the PFA team of the year. While at Blackburn he also scored a goal in a 3-3 draw with Charlton, which he remains only 1 of 5 keepers to do this in the league. One of Friedel’s greatest attributes was his fitness, the keeper went on to play 310 consecutive games in the Premier League, which is still a record to this day.

3. Tim Howard

Another goalkeeper on this list, something the United States has had great success with over the years. Tim Howard signed for Manchester United from the New York Red Bulls (formally known as the New York/Jersey MetroStars) in 2003, winning the Community Shield and the FA Cup in his first season and adding the League cup in 2006. With the addition of Dutch master Edwin Van Der Sar in 2005, Howard’s chances became limited. This provoked a loan to Everton before he completed a transfer to the Toffees in 2007, where he made 354 total appearances. Like his compatriot Brad Friedel, he also scored a goal in the league, against Bolton Wanderers. Howard ended his career as the highest capped U.S national team goalkeeper of all time.

4. Brian McBride

In the 2000/2001 season, while at Columbus Crew, McBride was sent out on loan to Preston North End, then managed by David Moyes. Moyes took the American born forward with him when he moved from the Second Division club to Premier league Everton where the striker scored 4 goals in 8 appearances. The following season McBride secured a move to Fulham, playing 140 games and scoring 33 goals making him the club’s second highest Premier League goalscorer behind fellow American and Fulham legend Clint Dempsey. The striker’s no-nonsense play and maximum effort made him a fan favourite at craven cottage.

5. Miguel Almiron

The Paraguayan only moved to the Premier League in January, breaking Newcastle United’s transfer record with his move from Atlanta United for £20m, the highest fee paid for an MLS player. With only a small sample size of just 4 games so far it’s premature for Almiron to make this list but the potential the attacking midfielder has is breathtaking, his pace, running quality, passing and eye for goal will delight the Geordie faithful and help the club push on to better things in the future.

Almiron is just one of a host of exciting MLS players developed in the league who could find their way to the Premier League very soon. Can Almiron live up to the hype and reach the potential set by his predecessors?

Wayne Edge @oasis1711

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