Tim Howard appears to be edging towards the exit door at Goodison Park.
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U.S. national team goalkeeper Howard, 36, has spent the last decade playing for Everton in the Premier League but rumors persist about him moving to the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer.
In January ProSoccerTalk exclusively revealed that Howard was in talks with the Rapids and is close to sealing a moved back to MLS in May.
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Speaking to the media on Thursday ahead of Everton’s FA Cup last 16 clash against AFC Bournemouth this weekend, Howard’s manager, Roberto Martinez, was asked about speculation linking the former Manchester United goalkeeper with a move away from Everton.
The Spanish coach did little to quash the transfer talk.
“At the moment there is nothing to comment,” Martinez said. “Of course I think Tim is one of those foreign footballers that has brought so much to the Premier League. It is not normal for a foreign player to get so attached to a club, especially in the modern game. To have 10 seasons like Tim has had now, it’s an incredible contribution.
“All I’m focusing on now is that Tim gets back to his best level and being able to finish the season strong. Whatever happens in the future, I don’t think this is the right moment to speak about it now.”
Hmm. So, “I don’t think this is the right moment to speak about it” and “at the moment there is nothing to comment” is pretty telling from Martinez. Sure, he’s not saying much but he’s definitely left the door wide-open for speculation to continue. Also, Martinez was further pressed on Howard’s position at Everton and if Joel Robles was now the undisputed No. 1. He confirmed Robles is the main man for now — in a roundabout way — but welcomed Howard to fight to regain his starting spot.
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All signs are pointing to Howard leaving for Colorado following the conclusion of the 2015-16 Premier League season on May 15 and with the New Jersey native currently out with an injury and losing his starting spot to Robles — who has excelled in his place — the USMNT veteran may not get the chance to end his Everton career with regular games.
This season has been a mixed one for Howard as he put in some stunning displays away at Tottenham and Manchester City in 0-0 draws, but has also been criticized by many sections of Everton’s supporters for costly mistakes. Everton have conceded the most home league goals (23) among Europe’s top five leagues and have conceded 35 times in 26 games so far in the PL this season.
Following his decision to take a self-imposed year sabbatical from U.S. national team action in September 2014, Howard returned to the USMNT fold last September but has shared minutes with Brad Guzan over the past six months. If he does move back to MLS, it remains to be seen whether or not Jurgen Klinsmann will still look at Howard as one of his first-choice goalkeepers following the emergence of Luis Robles and David Bingham during the January camp.