Guess what folks! The silly season is finally upon Major League Soccer. That's right, the summer transfer window opens TODAY for one whole month. And guess what else! The New England Revolution now have the first pick in the MLS Allocation order due to the Philadelphia Union trading for Vancouver's former #1 spot to nab Bakary Soumaré.
Yes, it is an exciting time, with so many possibilities! So much to consider! So many rumors to comb through! And with the top spot in the allocation order (a process by which we picked up Benny Feilhaber last season, in case you somehow missed that), there are even more angles from which we can look at this summer window for the Revolution. So, what does it all mean exactly? Well, let's look at a few potential events right out of the get-go.
Firstly, let's refresh our memories about the MLS Allocation order and how it works exactly. According to the 2012 MLS Roster Rules:
"The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee. The allocation rankings may also be used in the event two or more clubs file a request for the same player on the same day when the discovery period opens in December. The allocations will be ranked in reverse order of finish for the 2011 season, taking playoff performance into account.
Once the club uses its allocation ranking to acquire a player, it drops to the bottom of the list. A ranking can be traded, provided that part of the compensation received in return is the other club's ranking. At all times, each club is assigned one ranking. The rankings reset at the end of each MLS League season."
So, with that knowledge, it would seem that the Revs are in prime position to make a big move should one present itself. Now, the most obvious and prominent possibilities would be the trio of US Men's National Team players currently caught up in the tumultuous situation at Glasgow Rangers FC. I am of course talking about Carlos Bocanegra, Alejandro Bedoya, and Maurice Edu.
Now, to begin, the player most heavily linked with a move to MLS is Bocanegra, who seemed to have a transfer agreement all but squared away to join the Vancouver Whitecaps, according to various internet blogs and websites (take this one for example). However, now that Vancouver has traded away their top pick, that seems to no longer be possible. What it could mean is that either Vancouver changed their mind (due to limited cap space, Philadelphia's deal being too tempting, etc), or Bocanegra decided to stay in Europe (or go elsewhere). I suppose there is a possibility that he will stick with Rangers and see things out, but that seems unlikely. If Boca does still decide to come to MLS, though, then the Revolution would have first dibs.
Now, the Revs could of course pass on him if they felt they were all set in the center-back department. But it would seem more likely that they would sign him. Even if they felt he was too expensive for their needs (considering they already have one expensive CB riding the bench in John Lozano), the Revs could use Bocanegra as a trade chip and try to make a deal with another MLS cub for a player (or two?) that they could use such as a quality forward. Then again, Kyle McCarthy tweeted earlier today that the Revs have a CB on trial this week at training, so maybe they are indeed looking around for other options? Who knows.
Another US International potentially looking for an exit from Rangers is Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya, a 25-year-old central attacking midfielder, already has a strong tie to New England having attended Boston College before beginning his professional career at the Swedish club Örebro (instead of entering the MLS SuperDraft). Bedoya would surely be an asset if acquired, but one would have to wonder why the Revs would want another attacking midfielder as they already have a smorgasbord of quality attacking midfielders. Again, could the Revs use Bedoya (or a current Rev) as trade bait? Would they pass on him? Hard to say.
The rumors regarding Maurice Edu have mostly placed him in Turkey as opposed to returning to the United States. However, he would still be an option in theory--after all, this Rangers situation is a real mess, and who knows how it will all turn out.
Yet another Rangers player who has been linked with the Revolution (this time not a US international) is outside midfielder Sone Aluko. Aluko is a young (23) Nigerian winger who has had a pretty impressive scoring rate at the Glasgow club, but is also being targeted by the Houston Dynamo, who have recently made their interest in the player known publicly. Aluko's move to the US is somewhat doubtful as there are a number of European clubs who could surely offer a more appealing offer, but the link is there and he would be a no-brainer if we were able to lure him to Foxboro.
Regardless of whether the Revs manage to land any of the players mentioned here, the fact remains that we have the #1 spot, which could land us any number of returning USMNT or MLS players from elsewhere in the world. And even if the Allocation order doesn't come into play this season, the Revs are quite clearly looking to make some additions in the upcoming window, so it will sure be fun seeing just how all the chips fall by the end of it.