Monday, April 2, 2007

It's Not Personal, Sonny. It's Strictly Business

Clint Mathis is quite a personality. The red-clay of Georgia upbringing, the hideous excuse for a Mohawk, the check-the-Timex taunting of his tardy Teutonic taskmaster. The Red Bull acquisition of The Cletus, however, is, as Michael Corleone calmly explained to his hot-headed big brother, not personal. It's strictly business.

The Red Bull is slated to kick off the 2007 season in six days with Jozy Altidore, John Wolyniec and Dave van den Bergh the options at forward, putting aside the various attacking midfielders and newbies/draftees trying to crack the lineup. Nothing against those players, but any club seriously harboring any hope at all of making the playoffs must have at least one striker on hand who has scored lots of goals. Mathis has found the back of the net 53 times in his 184-game MLS career, many of those in the Meadowlands.

Granted, The Cletus has evidently deposited more Cheetos down his ever-expanding gub than balls past goalkeepers recently, and his fitness regimen is probably more John Daly than Lance Armstrong. Early reviews of Clint Redux include the following raves: Disaster. Laughable. Bruce Arena, however, thinks it's worth a shot, which brings us back to business.

According to The Denver Post (hat tip to Soccer by Ives) Real Salt Lake is on the hook for most of Clint's 2007 salary, with the Rapids chipping in a few bucks, leaving the Red Bull only about $100K out of pocket for the deal. Compared to whatever the other supposed options were -- Zidane demanding Beckham money, Juan Pablo Angel asking for over $2Mil, Mo Johnston apparently seeking way too much for Eski -- this is a daring, but prudent piece of business, which doesn't preclude a Big Splash DP signing in the immediate future. The latest rumor is Chilean firebrand Marcelo Salas (h/t MetroFanatic). Worst case, The Cletus bombs and The Red Bull drop some chump change while maintaining a healthy cap number. Best case, well, who knows? But don't be surprised if Mathis is energized by the change of scenery and his return to the Big Stage.

  • Speaking of Salas, another guy who was great 10 years ago and is now looking for a final financial score while chillin' in America and not bothering to play hard, Blanco has signed with the Chicago Fire.

    Allen said...

    The problem with Clint isn't the talent nor the price of it but that's he's a head-case. Great guy in person but in terms of the game most 8 year old exhibit more commitment and professionalism than Clint.

    Riles said...

    Can't argue with you, Clint is "out there." But remember, the MLS has had it's share of colorful characters who managed to make meaningful contributions to clubs, like Cletus himself in 2000. Hopefully he can turn back the clock and help the Red Bull in 2007.