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Gooch's Big Move?

For several years, USA defender Oguchi Onyewu has been looking for a permanent move from Belgian club Standard Liege to a big club elsewhere in Europe. And with the winter window opening and Liege needing to move him to collect a transfer fee before his contract expires this summer, it is now looking as if Olympique Marseille is going to get him. One source tells me a deal is imminent, but of course we've heard that before. His U.S.-based agent is apparently in Marseille attempting to finalize the move. Let's see how this unfolds.

Onyewu nearly went to Middlesbrough after the 2006 World Cup and did go to Newcastle on loan in 2007. He returned to Liege last season. If the move goes through, both USA starting central defenders would be based in France's top league. (Carlos Bocanegra starts at left back for Rennes.)

How do you think Gooch would fair fare at Marseille?

By Steve Goff  |  December 11, 2008; 9:31 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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We still calling them freedom fries?
I'm sure Gooch would fit in just fine in France with that Manpurse I've seen him rocking........:-)

Posted by: DadRyan | December 11, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be a bad time for Gooch to go...his team is on quite a roll and he could miss out on a special as a free transfer he'll have more opportunities for greater pay.

As for SdeL, why break up your defense when you are primed to make a deep run in the UEFA Cup...a couple wins there probably make up financially for any transfer fee they'll get, and if I'm not mistaken this year's Belgian champion goes into the UCL group stage...a huge financial prospect.

Posted by: teo_68 | December 11, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

A year ago their where no yanks in France. Bocagnero at Reinnes and Freddy Adu at Monaco. Now its becoming the new home of Americans playing in Europe. I've not watched much of the French league. I know that it is a rung below the Premiership, La Liga and the German first division but what is the style like? Gooch appears to have accomplished all that their is to accomplish in Belgium. His team is one of the dominant teams in the league and he was a solid contributor. A higher level of competition week in and week out, which I assume France is, should help to continue the growth as a player. Congrats to Gooch if it works out.

Posted by: nyjer1 | December 11, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Marseilles huh?

I'd actually been hearing that Gooch was a lock for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Posted by: alecw81 | December 11, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

How would Gooch "Fair"? You mean "fare"...
the literary/grammatical maven inside of me had to point that out, sorry :)

the best football is being played in spain right now. gooch and other americans should look to la liga.

Posted by: nefariousjahs | December 12, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

La Liga is pretty tough to get an american to play in, you prolly need to be a talented youth player, i.e. Jozy to have a better chance to be picked.

And Marseille is a good fit, if works his cards right it could be good exposure for him.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | December 12, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Great move for Gooch. I'll pick up my Gooch Marseille jersey as soon as the deal is announced. People say go to La Liga, etc. If Gooch performs there, he can play anywhere. And as far as style is concerned, the French League is superior in my opinion to all of its neighbors in the sense that the French play a truly composite "melting-pot" style (Italian flair, Spanish technique, English grit/work rate, German/Dutch tactics). It's actually the perfect style for us Americans and is the style we need to I really don't want to see us emulating the English game all the time.

Posted by: fcmuenchweiler | December 12, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

He would "fair" fair? It does seem a shame to have him leave with Liege looking so strong in the UEFA Cup. I assume he would not be eligible to play for Marseille in UEFA Cup play this year....

The advantage would be better competition in league play, and a chance to earn a starting spot for a Champions' League side in next year's tourney.

Is it even possible that Marseille just wants to rent him -- without signing him to a new deal?

I imagine Liege believes they won't get much farther -- either that or they simply think the transfer fee will enable them to improve.

@fcmuenchweiler -- interesting comment. I'm not sure that flair is really Gooch's game, but it wouldn't hurt to have him take on attackers with flair. However, I like your prescription for the US game. We need to create a synthesis that takes advantage of American size and athleticism, and the Mexican run and flair show.

Posted by: fischy | December 12, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

I could save this for the kickaround, but...

Keith Olbermann showed a clip from a Greek SuperLeague game.

Some idiot ran onto the field (fully clothed), during a dead ball. One of the players finally stuck out a leg and tripped him up. Security grabbed the idiot. Then, the ref showed the player a card and pointed to the bench...

Posted by: fischy | December 12, 2008 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Ligue 1 is a physical league (ask Gallardo or Adu). Gooch has often been the victim of getting called for clean challenges that send people flying (the "large man" syndrome). In France, he is much less likely to get into trouble for this kind of tackle, which is a positive provided he can adjust when he puts on a USA shirt.

There is the ugly fact that Ligue 1 has some big problems with racism, but other than that a move to Marseille would be a reasonable fit. The quality of play in France is a big step up from Belgium, Marseille is right on the Mediterranean, and Marseille is currently sitting in 2nd place, which would put them directly into the Champions League group stage. The Jupiler league champion only gets a spot in the "2nd qualifying round for champions". It seems that UEFA, in turning the kind of complicated UEFA Cup into the absurdly silly "UEFA Europa League of Non-Qualifying Champions Tournament Contest of Extraordinary Gentlemen" has also decided to overcomplicate the Champions League qualifiers. The word "byzantine" is certainly applicable here. In any case, Marseille is better placed to enter the Champions League next season as compared to Standard.

Those of you thinking that Standard would be interested in keeping him for a UEFA Cup run are ignoring the fact that Standard, like any club, is a business. The several million euros Gooch will bring in will outweigh all the other factors. Standard isn't wealthy enough to overlook that income, and they've also prepared themselves for Gooch's departure on multiple occasions. Keeping him for a UEFA Cup run would be naive.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 12, 2008 2:27 AM | Report abuse

If I remember right, Gooch speaks fluent French, so he should adapt pretty easily. Here's to hoping this turns out to be true and he can get Marseille back on the winning track!

Posted by: strago | December 12, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Gooch start in France before getting traded to Belgium? I think he got signed with Metz and then they got relegated or something so he never played in the top division.

Posted by: GiannicolusJones | December 12, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Fischy, so YOU'RE the one who watches Olberman!

Speaking of TV: I was watching Man Utd on Wednesday when 30 black-clad people crammed into my office and started singing, "We are the champions!" Odd.

Go to France, Gooch.

Posted by: joedoc | December 12, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

What the offer isnt on the table anymore for Real Madrid? :p

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | December 12, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Some idiot ran onto the field (fully clothed), during a dead ball. One of the players finally stuck out a leg and tripped him up. Security grabbed the idiot. Then, the ref showed the player a card and pointed to the bench...

Posted by: fischy | December 12, 2008 1:41 AM

I love youtube and American football. I loved Mike "Mad Dog" Curtis and the Balmer Colts.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 12, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

After a rough start at the Dentist this morning, Joe Doc and OWNTF have turned my spirits skyward! Thanks for putting some laughter in my life this morning fellas:-)

I'm hoping that CONCACAF comes up with their own absurd theme song/advertising campaign...A longer shot than a DCU 3rd jersey you say? Maybe they could get Hank Jr., Mark Anthony, and Shakira together for a collabo?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 12, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Marseille is a club with a long history and huge expectations from fans... It is also an area of the country with a history of immigration from N Africa, with all the tensions that creates. But the fans are absolutely passionate, and there are dedicated anti-racist fan groups. Hell, the GM is of African descent and lots of their players are/have been as well.

Gooch could do a lot worse. This is not a relegation-fodder squad, they're near the top of the table and are desperate to catch Lyon and squash Nice and PSG.

Posted by: Modibo | December 12, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Waiter there are snails on her plate. Now get them out of here before she sees them! You would think that in a fancy restaurant at these prices you could keep the snails off the food! There are so many snails there you can't even see the food! Now take those away and bring us those melted cheese sandwich appetizers you talked me out of!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 12, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but I hope he doesn't go. I like this Standard Liege team a lot, and think they can make a real run at the UEFA Cup. Look at the boys from Zenit and the deals they got, it's well proven that it's a good place to showcase yourself in the market.

Posted by: mobility83 | December 12, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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