Weird day in Columbus. As of, let’s see, 7:07 a.m. the Columbus Crew had reached an agreement with Scotland’s Celtic FC on a transfer fee for Polish forward Maciej Zurawski. And there was some rejoicing, perhaps a little apprehension about spending so much money on one player, etc.
By 1:06 p.m. a post by the same reporter (the rough-and-ready and, lately, fairly busy Shawn Mithcell) on Covering the Crew found something on Celtic’s website saying that Zurawski is going to Greece, to some club named for a girl to be specific. Maybe Maciej got to talking with Cleetus…
Mitchell promised more information later (in the post, not to me; I don’t know the guy or anything), so we’ll learn more later – perhaps even that “Larissa” (the Greek club in question) was some kind of really bad typo for Columbus.
Getting back to the Columbus Dispatch’s report, there was something else in there I was going to flag, a passage on what a hairy pain-in-the-ass coming to America can be:
“But the negotiations are not strictly among clubs, players and their agents. Each step, to some degree, must be approved by the league office.“
For what it’s worth, I think the part in bold is something that needs to change. With teams like the New England Revolution or the Houston Dynamo scrounging for players, it seems a little burdensome and a lot silly, that they have to hit up the league office to sign their 27B-6 on top of negotiating with players and their entourages. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Major League Soccer (MLS) has lost players to that in the past. And the way it diffuses responsibility to the point where players can’t be 100% who’s saying no to a move – as happened with Taylor Twellman (though he’s pretty sure where the buck stopped) – well, I don’t think that brings much comfort to players either.
I’m not saying that’s what happened here. I have no way of knowing as much, for starters. But, if I were a player looking to join a league and I saw the maze of hoops MLS puts in front of player movement, I’m pretty sure I’d hop to Greece too. I’m just saying. The pisser is, it doesn’t need to be this hard: have a salary cap, shift around draft and allocation picks to help with parity, and let the teams succeed or fail. People generally regard micro-managing as a bad thing for a reason.
Looks like the Crew and their fans may yet get to see how “Meet” George Josten and Ricardo Pierre-Louis work out after all…
UPDATE: Curiouser and curiouser…was Columbus ever the destination? Sure as heck sounded like it.