Sometimes MLS gets no credit for thinking outside the box. Maybe that's a bit of a bum rap, given some relatively new information. In these tougher economic times for international soccer, MLS seems to be playing hardball at BOTH ENDS of the market spectrum, not only with respect to transfers OUT of MLS (which is being widely reported), but also for transfers INTO our league. First case in point: Ruiz, who is a bargain at his current goalscoring rate and form. Certainly 10x better than Hernandez at perhaps 10x LESS the price! Apparently MLS haggled over every last dollar with his Central American club prior to the transfer. Now we have reports out of South Korea: http://www.planetfootball.com/article.asp?id=105200&clid=&cpid=218&Title=Galaxy+fail+with+Hong+bid $200,000 bid for Hong. Sounds offensive, right? Too low, one says, even for a 33 year old defender who is coming off of a STELLAR World Cup campaign for the hosts. The United States side were confident of capturing Hong after agreeing a deal with the defensive veteran, but the South Korean club were less than happy with the proposed fee. Then a club official, Pohang secretary Hwang In-gook, reveals the following: "LA indicated that Hong is worth no more than $200,000, so we rejected straight away." Not so fast... BUT Pohang manager Choi Soon-ho added that the US side were looking to offset the transfer with an offer of a regular money-spinning friendly. He said: "LA offered us something other than a transfer fee. They offered us a regular friendly match with LA Galaxy, but that did not attract me at all." Okay, so it didn't work for Hong. Nevertheless, intriguing, no? Anyone have any idea what this might be worth if, say, 15,000 fans show up for a friendly each preseason? Is this, in effect, a valuable negotiating tool? If so, we have MLS demonstrating that not every transfer needs to be solely about dollars and cents, but rather dollars and "sense." I sense a "win-win" situation developing, one which -- not conincidentally --furthers the international development (and hopefully reputation) of MLS... Alternatively, does this work in reverse? If Ajax wants to buy DMB for $2 million and MLS wants more, can -- or should -- we accept a set number of friendlies with Ajax as "compensation" for the transfer? Your thoughts are appreciated.