Five Premier League players that could make free transfers to MLS in 2016

The January transfer window is about to open in Europe and the Premier League is always one of the most intriguing league when it comes to transfer news and rumours.

As well as the fact that teams can negotiate transfer deals, clubs can also start to negotiate with players under the age of 24 who have just six months remaining on their current deals, with the hope of sealing a pre-contract agreement.

That second part is particularly important for Major League Soccer as several MLS sides will look to make pre-contract agreements with Premier League players who could then join for free in the summer.

Steven Gerrard was signed by LA Galaxy in this way last year, while Kevin Doyle also signed a pre-contract agreement with the Colorado Rapids last year.

But who could make the move across the Atlantic this year? We look at five possible moves below:

1. John Terry

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The long-term Chelsea captain is likely to be playing his final season with the Blues and may even decide to hang up his boots. That seems unlikely though as Terry has spoken of his desire to play on for a few years longer. A move to MLS has been talked about since Terry revealed it’s something he would consider last year.

“I would love to finish my career at Chelsea and maybe there is a time when I look to go to play in America or whatever might be best for my family at the time,” Terry told TalkSport in May 2015.

He would surely be signed on a Designated Player contract were he to agree a move stateside and would add crucial leadership and experience to any locker room in MLS.

2. Mathieu Flamini

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Arsenal midfielder Flamini has just six months remaining on his current deal and doesn’t look set to extend that as things stand. Having previously revealed MLS is something he would consider, the Frenchman could find himself playing on American soil by the time the summer arrives.

Flamini would add steel to any team’s midfield and would bring bundles of experience with him. Plenty of teams will be keeping one eye on the 31-year-old Frenchman.

3. Mikel Arteta

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Sticking with Arsenal midfielders and Mikel Arteta is another who could make the switch to MLS this summer, having fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates this season.

Arteta is unlikely to be offered a contract extension and will therefore be free to negotiate with any possible future employers from January. Arteta is a good friend of NYCFC’s David Villa and has previously spoken glowingly about MLS.

“The game in the US is definitely going in the right direction, so there’s a real opportunity for players to come over from Europe,” the Spaniard said in 2014.

4. Kolo Toure

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Kolo Toure has previously been linked with a move across the Atlantic but with just six months left on his Liverpool deal now, the Ivorian centre-back could make the move for free, making any transfer more appealing for MLS sides.

The New York Red Bulls reportedly offered Toure a two-year deal in the summer but no move came to fruition. Six months on and more offers could be laid on the table for the out-of-favour Reds defender.

5. Stephane Sessegnon

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The final name on this list is West Bromwich Albion’s Stephane Sessegnon, who would add pace and creativity to multiple sides in Major League Soccer. He struggled to get into Tony Pulis’ team early on this season but has played in ten of West Brom’s last eleven league games.

That said, it is still unclear whether a new contract will be offered to the Benin international and so clubs around the world may be keeping a close eye on the playmaker.

He would suit the fast-paced playing style seen in MLS and could be an interesting addition to the league if any team reaches out.

Which of the players above do you think will move to MLS in 2016? Are there any others you think could make the switch?

 

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League Cup Preview and Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday vs Arsenal

Competition: League Cup Fourth Round – Sheffield Wednesday vs. Arsenal

Venue: Hillsborough – Tuesday, October 27 – 19:45 GMT (15:45 ET)

Match Odds: Sheffield Wednesday 7/1 – Draw 4/1 – Arsenal 2/5

Match Preview

Sheffield Wednesday welcome Arsenal to Hillsborough for the first time in almost 16 years for a fourth round League Cup tie on Tuesday night.

The Owls edged a 2-1 win away at Rotherham last time out and are currently ninth in the Championship after an unbeaten run of eight games in all competitions (W5 D3).

Wednesday secured their place in the fourth round thanks to Lewis McGugan, who scored a second-half winner to beat Premier League side Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park in the previous round.

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Head coach Carlos Carvalhal is expected to make a number of changes to his side and said this week they only have a “10% chance” of winning the tie against a high-flying Arsenal side.

The Gunners arrive in Sheffield after one of the most successful week’s they’ve had for quite some time.

A 2-1 win at home to Everton on Saturday sealed a third win in 7 days, after beating Watford 3-0 a week before to put Arsenal level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Sandwiched in between those games was one of the club’s greatest European triumphs as they beat a scintillating Bayern Munich side 2-0 at the Emirates.

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Arsene Wenger will undoubtedly make numerous changes for this clash as he usually does in this competition, in order to use it as an opportunity for the younger players and non first-team regulars to gain some playing time.

The Gunners enjoyed a 2-1 win over rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the previous round.

The last meeting between the two sides was a Premier League clash, which produced an entertaining 3-3 draw at Highbury back in May 2000.

Team News

Sheffield Wednesday will be without the injured Michael Turner, Alex Lopez, Marco Matias and Modou Sougou.

Arsenal’s injury list includes Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky. Goalkeeper David Ospina is also still out with a shoulder problem so youngster Matt Macey may get a chance if Arsene Wenger chooses to rest Petr Cech.

Key Points

Sheffield Wednesday’s last five in all competitions: W/W/D/D/W

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Sheffield Wednesday haven’t made it past the fourth round in the League Cup since the 2001/02 season when they reached the semi-final.

Key Player: Mathieu Flamini – The Frenchman is probably still on a come down after his two goals in the last round at Spurs. His experience in the midfield could be key.

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Score Prediction

Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Arsenal – This is a potential banana skin for the Gunners and while many expect them to eventually come out on top, it may be tighter than some would think.

Could this Arsenal star be set for MLS adventure?

Arsenal‘s Mathieu Flamini will be out of contract at the end of the season and he could be another high profile Premier League player to make the move across the Atlantic.

The Frenchman is currently in his second spell with the Gunners. He joined under Arsene Wenger in 2004 and departed for Milan in 2008 before returning in 2013.

The 31-year-old holding midfielder has a wealth of experience at the top level. He has made 23 appearances this season with an impressive 91% pass success rate.

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Flamini has once again proven this season the influence he can make on a midfield. He has won 33 tackles in the league and picked up just three yellow cards, showing he can play the industrial side of the game at a high level.

As we know, two of Flamini’s former Arsenal teammates Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg have already featured in MLS with New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders.

We can expect a number of top European clubs will be interested in his services but a Major League Soccer move could be on the cards.

Would Flamini suit MLS and could he make the move this summer?