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Revolution Revolt

Just got off the phone with Ron Waxman, NY-based agent for New England star midfielder Shalrie Joseph, who has stepped down as team captain and has requested a trade because of a contract impasse. (The story first appeared in the Boston Globe this morning.)

Here's some background:

Scottish club Celtic twice made $1 million offers to MLS/New England for Joseph last year. Both times they were turned down. If New England had agreed to the deal, MLS would have gone along with it. Didn't happen. (It goes without saying that Joseph would have received a significant salary increase by moving to Europe.)

Joseph has two years left on his current MLS contract, which pays him about 170K per year, but in the aftermath of Celtic's offer, he asked for a raise. The sides were very close on a new base salary (in the 300K range!), but couldn't agree on bonuses.

Says Waxman: "We got within $10,000 on base salary, but they offered one of the worst bonus packages that I've ever seen in MLS. I tried to come up with a creative package, but they didn't want any part of it."

He continues: "If you really want a guy, you don't walk away from a negotiation over performance bonuses. Any GM in any other sport will tell you that."

So would the Revs actually trade their 2005 team MVP? And if so, where would they send him? Who needs a defensive midfielder? New York? Salt Lake? And what would that team have to give up to get him?

Waxman says Joseph would be willing to play for any of the other 12 clubs in MLS.

"We want him to go to another team that someday may appreciate him the way we feel he should be appreciated," Waxman added.

Revs soccer boss Sunil Gulati said he has no comment on the matter.

Stay tuned...

By Steve Goff  |  March 18, 2007; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Interesting indeed. Every team in the league would kill for this guy.

I think Joseph should have at least acted like he really wanted to go to Celtic so as to be in a stronger bargaining position. Now since the transfer window has closed he is in a much weaker position and now has to play this card.

I know that not every player wants to play in Europe or at least Scotland but I'll still amazed Joseph would turn down 2 serious offers from one of Europe's most storied clubs who wanted him to help them with a Champion's League run. I have to believe that if he really wanted to go he would have spoke up like Dempsey and stated that he wanted out.

That said I can't see the Revs trading him to an Eastern Conference team.

Posted by: degerron | March 18, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

He wanted to go, but the Revelution didn't agree to the transfer.

Posted by: Dave | March 18, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Joseph wanted to go to Celtic, but the Revs rejected the offers.

Posted by: Goff | March 18, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Every team would kill for this guy, but would everyone agree to pay him $300,000 plus a year in order to keep him as New England was?

Posted by: Mike | March 18, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe that nightmare Gulati wanted some more press coverage of his ego, regardless of the futbol effects. Hmmmmmm, sounds familiar, doesn't it? How else do the Men end up with cheatin bob as coach? Nightmare, n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e. The world is laughing at you Sunil, not singing your praises! You are a legend only in your own mind.

I doubt there is a team in MLS that wouldn't want Shalrie on their side. The DP medicine for the lalasgals and pink bovines media darlings is having side effects among the rank and file.

Posted by: GrillMaster | March 18, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, 300K for a defensive midfielder in MLS is a lot of cash. I can see both sides of this one.

Posted by: Goff | March 18, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clearing that up. There's so much one could say about the whole situation. I hope Joseph gets the big pay day he deserves and I wish the league would have released him so he could have played in Champions League.

If say NY or DCU are interested in him and who wouldn't be, who would they be willing to give up?

Posted by: degerron | March 18, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Love his talent. The value propositon is significantly lowered because he makes max money (if not DP money). It's not taking the cap hit, but you have to trade for him, which can't be inexpensive.

For DCU, it's even a worse situation. They have a plethora of DM. If you were Dave Kaspar, would you want to reduce your cap space, lose a starter or two (perhaps draft picks) or allocation money to add Joseph who may be leaving in a year or two at position that you have strength and depth.

I wouldn't pull the trigger on this trade... Seems like to much downside.

Posted by: JSF | March 18, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Million bucks for a D mid from Celtic and they turn it down? Yikes. They could have sold him then traded us for Simms.

While I can understand MLS does not want to sell bona fide stars (read ticket sales) to Europe, I just don't see Josephs in that mold (Dempsey, yes. Twellman, yes. Adu, yes, etc)

Remember the reported $5 million that Benfica (?) was offering for Eddie Johnson? Bet you MLS wish they had taken that.

Posted by: d | March 18, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

You have to feel for Shalrie Joseph on this one. The Revs twice have denied him a chance to play in Europe and a significant pay raise, then don't come thru on simple bonus money?

The Revs are a notoriously cheap outfit and are shining thru right now. On the face of it, paying $300k for a defensive midfielder is a bit nuts, but he's not your everyday dmid.

I'm guessing the Revs simply didn't want to lose Joseph after already losing Dempsey. Well, too bad. Let the man go.

Posted by: A Rickey | March 18, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Knowing that the guy will likely leave at the end of his contract for Europe. Why wouldn't the Revs want to get somethig for him now? As in trade him the way DCU did Adu and Esky for allocation money. MLS teams are really setting themselves up for a major backlash by players in the future by not allowing the Josephs and Dempseys or even Johnsons to leave for greener pastures when Europe comes calling.

Posted by: degerron | March 18, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Let's call this for what it is...the Kraft family treats the Patriot NFL team the same way. It's a business first and sports team second! Bob Kraft's son John runs the Revs...I've heard him on a morning radio show here in Mass a few times. Good guy but it's clear that the Revs are a financial write off in relation to the Pats.

Posted by: Nick | March 18, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

speaking on salaries mr goff, how much does the eminent (and sole)soccer journalist at the post make

Posted by: theirry henry | March 18, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like seeing Olsen and Carroll starting at d-mid, I feel that Olsen and Joseph would be much more potent. Regardless, I can't see DC ponying up anything for Shalrie...he'll probably end up in NY unfortunately.

Posted by: Dave the Wave | March 18, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

300K is a lot for a DM, but MLS and Chicago gave Chris Armas a whopping raise around 2002. So, once you account for inflation and the fact that athletes are overpaid, 300K seems reasonable. And if the Revs are a write-off for the Pats, then why not cough up the cash?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | March 18, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Why is it every where Sunil Gulati goes, incompetance and disaster follow? Its hard to pick
the more incompetant soccer official- Sunil "7-11"
Gulati, or Don "Rat Face" Garber

Posted by: Common Sense | March 18, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

"speaking on salaries mr goff, how much does the eminent (and sole)soccer journalist at the post make"

wayyyyy too much


Posted by: Anonymous | March 18, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I always thought he was good but not THAT GOOD until his play was the key factor in beating us last year in the playoffs.

Posted by: Traver | March 18, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I think Shalrie Joseph will be 30 years old when he completes the two years remaining on his contract. He'd be considered too old for many top flight European sides, so he really needs to move now.

Posted by: Billinmd | March 18, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

"I think Shalrie Joseph will be 30 years old when he completes the two years remaining on his contract. He'd be considered too old for many top flight European sides, so he really needs to move now."

Which is why I think he is bluffing a bit. If he really wanted to play in Europe he knows the time is now and therefore he would have demanded the transfer publicly the way Dempsey announced it. Forgive if I missed it in the papers but I was busy in school. I think Joseph is trying to position himself for his final MLS contract that will set him up for retirement. If he wants the big pay day from MLS he has to get it now. Otherwise he missed it with Celtic. Steve, if Joseph really wanted out like you stated earlier why would he allow the Revs to appointment him team captain in the first place?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 18, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff,

What's your take on happenings at the Revs camp in the last year? Something doesn't seem right, and this offseason has been downright sad. The big splash for next season is Beckham's visit, that's the only email I've received from the ticket office.

Posted by: suffering revs fan | March 18, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

In addition to all this nonsense, the Revs are put in an even worse situation with their perceived treatment of players as of late. Who will be traded there? Probably not someone with European aspirations. Who will want to sign there as someone out of contract? Not someone that expects a timely raise if they perform well. It is just...icky...sorry, that is the only word that comes to mind. Makes me glad we have a great FO here.

Posted by: Mike | March 18, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Common Sense -

What has Garber done that is so wrong? He's not flawless, but look at the league when he came in (contracting teams, losing sponsors, renting stadium space everywhere) to now (expanding, huge deal with Adidas, getting money for MLS TV rights, getting stadiums built).

As for Joseph, every single team in the league should be trying to get him. Yes, $300K is a lot, but Joseph completely changes games. He is as important to the Revs as Gomez is to us, and we're offering him more than Joseph has on the table.

Personally, I think he would make DC unstoppable, but there's no way we make the trade. We've got plenty of defensive midfielders and the losses we'd take at other positions would be too much. Who would the Revs accept in exchange? Even with him wanting out, the Revs would be crazy to settle for less than either an MVP candidate or a high level starter and at least one respectable backup. Furthermore, their needs are forward depth, wing depth, and maybe attacking midfield (though I think Dorman is pretty good). We share the first two of those needs, and I wouldn't trade Gomez for anyone in MLS.

So, where does he end up? LA could certainly use a better defensive midfielder than Peter Vagenas, but probably has no cap room for another $300K. Chivas might have the cap room, but has nothing to offer. RSL probably has no idea what's going on or how to execute a trade. Chicago has cover at defensive midfield, but could offer Thiago and more to pair Armas and Joseph. NY has another DP slot and could use Joseph, though I don't think they can fit his salary under the cap (not that it hasn't stopped them before).

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | March 19, 2007 2:13 AM | Report abuse

I'd trade Carroll and Moreno for Joseph straight up. We'd be saving money, upgrading at d-mid, and freeing up Fred's natural spot.

Posted by: rick in ashburn | March 19, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Goff - Do hardball tactics like the ones played by the Revs in Shalrie's and Clint's cases give the league and other MLS teams a bad reputation when negotiating with talented players. Are Christian Gomez's agent be takng notes of the transfer debacles of the Revolution (Dempsey with the failed Charlton bid and now Joseph with the failed Cetlic bids) when discussing a new contract or extensions?

Posted by: Mickey | March 19, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

In a town that knows bureacracy...this seems like the classic case. Who's really calling the shots here: MLS? the Revs? US Soccer?

It seems like all sides point fingers at the other group and nothing gets done. MLS blames the Revs. The Revs can blame US Soccer and that ego dude, Sunil. Sunil probably would point his finger back at MLS. Very convenient.

I wish the rules were easier to understand. And the head of US soccer wasn't also the freakin GM for the Revs. And the league didn't have ultimate authority.

We could then entertain hypotheticals like Jaime and Carroll for Joseph (a trade I wouldn't do, if I were DCU).

Posted by: jj | March 19, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Thing is, the Revolution are not actively engaged in finding a replacement for Clint Dempsey, but rather, are planning to groom Andy Dorman to replace him.

They have the money, but the don't want to spend it... they don't want to make any effort to spend it.

In short, the Revolution have Joseph over a barrel here and the likes of Sunil, Tornberg, and Burns know it. They've done the same in their contractual negotiations with Leonard, Hernandez, and others, so it's not surprising the players are standing behind Joseph.

If Joseph or Waxman are smart, they might explore petitioning FIFA to have him releases from his contract, which hehas a right to do if he feels that the League and or Revolution have not dealt with him in good faith.

Posted by: Curtis | March 19, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"speaking on salaries mr goff, how much does the eminent (and sole)soccer journalist at the post make"

"wayyyyy too much"

Nah, my brother's a journalist. The answer is "wayyyyy too little".

Posted by: Paul | March 19, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

yea its true salaries are ridiculously low, had to do a research paper on it for journ class

Posted by: theirry henry | March 19, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Purely from a on-field needs perspective (as opposed to cost, salary cap, etc) Dallas has the most glaring need for a quality defensive midfielder.

Serioux is proving to be an injury magnet and their backline is young, inexperienced, and also facing a major injury to Gbandi.

But they don't have anything to give up for him. The Revs could use another attacking midfielder, but no way Dallas gives up Nunez.

Come to think of it, Chivas could probably use help in the back, but their midfield looks pretty set at this point.

Posted by: Nathanhj | March 20, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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