On the heels of reports yesterday which confirmed that former US target man and Mike Segroves humiliator Brian McBride had turned down a one year contract extension from Fulham of the EPL and planned on returning to MLS COMES THIS REPORT FROM SHAWN MITCHELL of the Columbus Dispatch which pretty much confirms what most people suspected all along: that a deal for a move to the Chicago Fire is in the bag.
McBride's principle concerns in all of this center around his family. If it were strictly a soccer decision, it's long been known that his heart is with the Columbus Crew.
However, he and his wife Dina have two young daughters and they want a permanent home for them. The Chicago area is where both of their families live, and it's where they want to live when Brian's playing career is over, to be near grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, cousins etc.
As such, there was never much of a question about where he would end up.
(Plus, this will provide many more opportunities for BMB to remind his former little league coach that he once advised him to give up soccer because he'd "never get anywhere" with it. This conversation is made much easier because that former coach is now his father-in-law.)
As for the details of how this will all be done, we can pretty much toss any notion of "MLS Rules" out the window.
While the league will put some nice-sounding legalities up as window dressing, with someone trading something for something else in flurry of players, DP slots, allocations and the like, the bottom line is that there won't be much of anything like negotiations between teams.
No one will be allowed to hold up the process in an effort to sweeten the deal for themselves. No team will spend a lot of time on the phone demanding this or that compensation.
Ivan Gazidis will figure out how it's going to go down, work out the details and then send the teams involved an email. No further discussion will be permitted and everyone darn well better put on a happy face about it all.
Which will render the hundreds of BigSoccer posts regarding who will trade what to whom and how the salary details will work out completely moot. Throw it all out the window. Ask not what your team will decide to trade, but what Ivan Gazidis will decide you can have.
And you know what? I don't have a problem with that.
If there's one good thing about MLS and it's "Single Entity" structure it's precisely this kind of a situation: something needs to happen for everyone's sake and so the league makes it happen.
Some people may grumble, but at the end of the day there are certain guys, a very small handful, who have earned the right to decide where they want to play rather than get dumped into the allocation pile or put up in some bogus draft and sent to Real Salt Lake.
Brian McBride is one of those.
The next job is convincing Peter Nowak that McBride, universally acknowledged around the EPL as "the consummate professional" and "the classiest of class acts" is precisely what the US Olympic team needs to lead a bunch of kids who badly need some examples in just those two areas.
But that's a discussion for another day. Right now, even Columbus Crew fans - maybe especially Columbus Crew fans - are just happy for a guy who is, indeed "the classiest of class acts".
Welcome home, Brian. Good to have you back.