According to Dutch journalist Merijn Slagter, Eredivisie club Feyenoord Rotterdam is interested in DC United defender Steve Birnbaum.
The 25-year-old has four caps for the United States and is on the preliminary roster for the Copa America, and expected to make the cut for the final roster which will be announced Saturday evening.
“Following Cory Gibbs, central defender Steve Birnbaun of DC United would be the 2nd American at Feyenoord. Rotterdam club is very interested,” Slagter wrote on Twitter.
This is not the first we’ve heard of interest in Birnbaum from Europe, but it is the first time a club has been named. FourFourTwo writer Paul Tenorio wrote in early May that Birnbaum had received interest from both Germany and Belgium, and already had one offer from an unnamed club. At the moment, it’s hard to quantify this as more than simple rumblings, but with repetitive mentions of Birnbaum’s name in small rumors, things may start to pick up as the smoke turns to fire.
Americans have seen moderate success in the Eredivisie before. The most recent American to succeed in the Netherlands was Jozy Altidore, who scored 51 goals in 93 matches for AZ Alkmaar between 2011 and 2013. USMNT regular Aron Johannsson played for AZ as well and was prolific up front, but struggled with injuries as well. Slagter’s tweet mentions Cory Gibbs, who moved to Feyenoord from the Dallas Burn in 2004, making 15 appearances across two season there before switching back to the United States for stints with the Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution, and Chicago Fire. Gibbs also accumulated 19 caps for the United States national team, mostly coming during his time in the Netherlands.