The latest MLS harvesting of Europe’s weary huddled footballing masses has whipped off the blooming head of another Premier League, err, “legend”. While Nani had his fans – many an argument was escalated by reference to his assist stats at Old Trafford – he’ll mainly be remembered for being slightly less disappointing than Anderson, but only because he stayed off the Mars bars.
He’s now bound for a city primarily known because it hosts some diminutive, squeaky-voiced cartoon characters – he should feel right at home.
And while prospective “sawker” fans in Orlando might be scratching their cheeseburgers and wonder who in the hell is this Nani guy, he’s a whole tier above some to of the ex-top flight pros who are currently plying their trade in the MLS.
Here’s our “oh yeah, I remember him – he was pretty sh*t” rundown of some of the most questionable trade dealings since the UK slapped tariffs on US tea.
Reto Ziegler – Dallas FC
If there’s been a more notable Swiss left-back/left-sided midfielder to have played in the Premier League we’re stumped if we can think of him – Marc Hottiger was a right-back, just so you know. Despite having a clear run for these prestigious honours, Ziegler failed to establish himself at Spurs after breaking into the first team under the short-lived Jacques Santini regime, and now has more sides than a dodecahedron as he lines out for Dallas FC in the MLS. He did play for Juve at some point though! We’ve found photo evidence and all.
DaMarcus Beasley – Houston Dynamo
How can he still be playing?! A veteran of four World Cups for the Stars and Stripes, Beasley’s spent the last four seasons lining out for Houston Dynamo after returning to North America following a lot of travelling. The high-point of his career was as a bit-part player in PSV’s team that made it to to the Champions League semi-final in 2007, before a less-successful spell on loan at Man City, and sojourn in Scotland with a pre-Sevco Rangers.
Nedum Onuoha – Real Salt Lake
32-years-old now, the former Man City youth product had every opportunity to be part of the footballing revolution at his former club – and was still on their books during the 2011-12 season when they finally won their first title since the petrol money started flowing. But it’s been a steep decline since, taking in stops at Sunderland and QPR before making the move stateside in September last year.
Justin Hoyte – FC Cincinnati
Around long enough to have appeared in Wenger Arsenal teams that weren’t poisoned by campaigns of disappointment, Hoyte enjoyed six senior seasons in Gooners red, but 2006-07 was the only season he played more than 15 times for the club he joined as a kid. Since then he’s plugged away around the Championship, before skipping across the pond in 2016 and the USL’s Cincinnati team. He’s been so good they’ve been bumped up to MLS – Americans really don’t get promotion and relegation do they? – with the Ohio team set to debut in the league this coming season.
Maynor Figueroa – FC Dallas
Steve Bruce may have spent this January off in the Carribean, but he made a productive raid on the central American mainland back in January 2008 when he signed Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa for Wigan, with the latter becoming a mainstay of Latics teams in their stay in the Premier League. Memorable chiefly for his worldy against Stoke City from half-way, he’s taken in the Colorado Rapids in the MLS and now lines up for FC Dallas.
Michael Mancienne – New England Revolution
One of the countless young talents to “benefit” from Chelsea’s hoarding of players, in three seasons among the first team squad at Stamford Bridge, Mancienne made just six appearances before moving down the road – and a division – to QPR.
He also enjoyed a three-year stint with Hamburg in Germany, long before it was cool to be English in Germany.
Three years with Forest followed and now he’s off with the New England Patriots’ association football cousins.
Krisztián Németh – Sporting Kansas City
One for the Liverpool die-hards, Németh never made a first team appearance on Merseyside and is chiefly known for fracturing his cheek within 60 seconds of making his debut for Blackpool on loan. He’s never delivered on the potential Rafa Benitez thought was there, but has firmly established himself in the MLS, and even won the league’s goal of the season award.
I thought everything was supposed to be bigger and better in America?