US Men’s National Team hero and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard is the latest American to be linked with a return to Major League Soccer with the LA Galaxy, New York City FC and Toronto FC all interested, according to the Daily Mail.
Howard’s heroics at the World Cup last summer inspired a nation as the 35-year-old put in some of the most incredible goalkeeping displays ever seen on the biggest stage of all, and so a return to MLS would certainly excite the entire population of US soccer fans.
The problem is that Howard only recently signed a contract extension with Premier League side Everton that will take him through to 2018, when he will then be 39 and set for retirement.
[Howard has made 370 appearances with Everton, keeping 123 clean sheets]
The Toffees are believed to be looking at long-term options to replace the shot-stopper who has been with the team for nine years, with Cardiff’s David Marshall and Orjan Nyland of Molde both linked with Everton.
If Howard were to return to MLS now a transfer fee would have to be agreed, because of his extended contract, and Howard would surely demand high wages that would make him a Designated Player.
Teams don’t tend to use DP slots on defensive players, especially goalkeepers, and so it would be a major investment in a position that doesn’t necessarily require a player of enormous quality.
Two of the teams reportedly interested, LA Galaxy and Toronto FC, have already filled all three DP slots so a move for Howard is out of the question for now at least.
That leaves New York City FC, who have also been linked with Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, but it would be a bold move to use their final DP slot on a goalkeeper for their inaugural season in MLS.
It would be great to see Howard finish his career in MLS after such success in Europe but it would appear to be more of a hope than a realistic possibility at this stage.
Should Tim Howard finish his career in MLS? Which club would he join?