One of the striking things about the world of club football for Americans new to is the transfer market - the idea that teams play these astonishing sums to other clubs to get sign someone off their roster. Liverpool just sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona for something like $130 million. In America, there are examples of players being sold for cash, but it's massively the exception, for some reason.*
No, here in America we like to trade players for each other. We deal Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for three dudes you've never heard of and another guy we'll add later, here in the Land of the Free. That's. How. We. Do. It. We trade folks for folks, or for future folks (in the form of players-to-be-named or future draft picks).
So, in the spirit of 'MERCA, I asked our writers: What flesh-for-flesh trades are out there that could help the Fire? And here's ... what they had ... to say:
The following ideas are from the view that it is much easier to find strikers with potential stuck behind players in good form on the bench than it is to find good midfielders. Good midfielders are playing, and it's tougher to convince a team to part ways with a consistent starter obviously.
Benji Joya for Jose Mari, Colorado or Luke Mulholland, RSL
You have to give something to get something and both of these players see regular minutes and make positive contributions. Benji Joya is a guy plenty of coaches would look at and see great potential, enough to perhaps give up a starting midfielder. Could you get a Gyasi Zardes? No. But a player like Mulholland or Mari, who may have hit their ceiling, could get moved for the potential. You might be giving away a great player or a bust, either way, you will get an immediate return and instant help.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado for Claudio Bieler, Sporting KC
If Matt Besler goes abroad, SKC might be in the market for some center back depth. Bieler rarely plays and hasn't shown much but the Fire could use all the help they can get in that area. Shift Ianni into the starting lineup and take a chance on Bieler.
Benji Joya for Saer Sene, New England
It's not that I don't like Joya but he is one of the few assets the team has other coaches would see as valuable that the Fire could part ways with. If Heaps wanted Duka, I'd do it in a second. Obviously the Fire are not going to send Shipp away or anything either. Sene is 27 years old, 6' 3" and 185 pounds. He struggles to get consistent playing time in New England. I'd gladly take him and see if he can become the target man.
Dilly Duka for Jeff Parke, DC United
I would trade Dilly Duka for Jeff Parke. I would have said Bobby Boswell but there is no way that DC trades Boswell. The salaries are comparable and it would suit both team's needs. Dilly Duka has seemed not to be in Yallop's plans as of late and like Chris Rolfe, a change of scenery may do him some good. Plus the signing of Cocis makes an already crowded midfield that much more crowded. Parke coming back in the other direction may shake up the defense a little and may make our current crop of center backs wake up and start playing better. Despite Parke being bounced from Seattle to Philly and now DC he has been a good center back with injuries here and there but nothing too serious. Right now we need to do something to the backline as it has been pourous all season long and in my opinion Parke is a much better option in the center than Ianni.
Alex for Gilberto, Toronto FC
My trade is Gilberto of Toronto FC for allocation money and Alex. There are many parts of this that make sense for both teams. First, this is a smart move for Toronto because they will free up some salary room and more importantly, a DP spot. With the open DP spot and combining that with the allocation money, they could move for a more high-profile player, let's say Brek Shea? I can't seem them turning that down. For the Fire, this is the opportunity to buy low on a player who has failed to live up to his hype. Much more was expected of Gilberto when he signed and with his injury issues, so Toronto might be tempted to redeem some of his value. The Fire get a goal scorer who can compliment Magee and form a dangerous trio with Amarikwa. Moving Alex is understandable with the emergence of Joya and Shipp along with the signing of Razvan Cocis. It would require the Fire to commit to a DP but the return could be the difference in making the playoffs or not. So in short, Toronto get cap room to move for Brek Shea and the Fire fill out their attack with a good opportunity buy.
Patrick Nyarko for Steven Lenhart, San Jose, or CJ Sapong, Sporting KC
My trade would not be a popular one amongst many Fire fans. It does however fill a need, evens out under the cap, and reunites player and coach. I would send Patrick Nyarko to San Jose in exchange for Steven Lenhart.
The longtime Earthquakes forward would compliment Amarikwa's skills up top and allow Magee to play behind them in the whole. Yallop and Lenhart know eachother well, and a reunion could be fruitful for both. Nyarko has been a hard worker, and a fan favorite. I believe he's hit his ceiling, as has Lenhart. But with the addition or Ward, Shipp, Joya and the borderline untradeable salary of Dilly Duka, Nyarko would yield the best return.
If they could figure out the $100,000+ difference in salary a deal involving Nyarko for Sporting KC's CJ Sapong, that would make for a better move.
Dilly Duka and Steven Kinney for Clarence Goodson
Frank Yallop's approach is for the longevity of the Fire organization. As head coach and director of soccer operations, Frank is overseeing player development and managing the first team we see on the field. It is often difficult for coaches, even in higher profile leagues, to manage youth and more experienced players simultanesouly. We have seen, however, these traits blended perfectly with Arne Fredrich and Austin Berry as our center back pairing. The experience brought by Arne bolstered the entire defensive scheme of the Fire in 2012, from young players (Berry, Anibaba) to older players (Segares, Pause, Pardo). The defense has not been the same since Fredrich left last year.
Capitavating the fan-base is another key element of a big signing. Given the success of the U.S. Mens National Team in Brazil this summer, we are still riding a wave of enthusiasm that is making normal fans more congisent of domestic soccer. Leadership traits of playing at the international level are an added bonus for a player mentoring others. Thus, our next big trade should be for a USMT center back. Clarence Goodsen of the San Jose Earthquakes caught my attention in meeting the above criteria. In exchange, we might be forced to dump two players (perhaps Steven Kinney and Dilly Duka) and a small amount of allocation money (though we might be saving up for someone bigger). The end result is solving our most pressing need so far this season: a well organized defense.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "That won't work because ..." or "That sucks because ..." or "That's good, but this is even better," and y'know what? You're probably right. So take a minute to set us straight or inspire us with your ideas down in the comments. Just remember the rules: Flesh for flesh. None of that European transfer-for-cash business!
* It is certainly not because massive transfer fees would explicitly speak to the player's value, and one that is explicitly endorsed by the team via the transaction, which (used in aggregate) could make playing hardball in collective bargaining agreements a more difficult posture to maintain. That's sure not why.