Friday, April 13, 2007

Why Angel To Red Bull Rumor Makes Sense

The speculation surrounding a Big Splash International DP signing by the Red Bull of Major League Soccer has been fevered and largely fantastical. Ronaldo. Zidane. Figo. There's also been some more realistic (if not advisable) rumors, like Delgado, Salas and Edmundo. But the latest report via Big Apple Soccer and the Manchester Guardian that Aston Villa's Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel may be headed to the Red Bull, soccer-wise at least, makes a helluva lotta sense.

1) He's not too old. Angel is 31 but not yet showing the telltale signs of an aging, washed up athlete. His skills, vision, creativity and intelligence around the goal are still functioning on a high-level.

2) Villa don't want him. Martin O'Neill will surely be cleaning house after this, his first full season at Villa Park, and with massive target-man John Carew starting well (YouTube) and local youngsters Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Moore (both Birmingham boys) demanding playing time, Angel is surplus to requirements.

3) His style fits MLS. Angel's 58 goals in six seasons with Villa have been scored against high-pressure, physical defending, the defining characteristic of MLS backlines (except the EPL is still much better). Juan Pablo is accustomed to holding the ball up and passing to overlapping midfielders/wingers as well as taking on defenders himself (YouTube) and sticking the ball in the back of the net.

Granted, financial and league-office considerations will make this deal difficult to close, and this is the umpteenth rumor of the year, but unlike many of the previous whispers, Juan Pablo Angel joining The Red Bull on the field of play, with the current roster of potential teammates isn't Silly Talk, but actually Smart Thinking.

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