deadline day snapshot

Deadline day snapshot: Carlos Bocanegra loaned to Racing Santander from Glasgow Rangers

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Three U.S. internationals have left Glasgow this summer. First it was Alejandro Bedoya to Helsingborg. Then Maurice Edu was rescued by Stoke. Now, U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra has found his life raft (albeit a temporary one), loaned to Racing Santander in Spain’s second division.

Who is he: Like a couple of other U.S. internationals who moved on Friday, Carlos Bocanegra is a known commodity around these parts. He went from UCLA to Major League Soccer before a long spell at Fulham. After leaving Craven Cottage, Bocanegra spent three years in Ligue 1 before moving to Glasgow, where had would eventually wear the armband for Rangers.

He is best known for doing the same with the U.S. men’s national team, with whom he’s made 106 appearances, scoring 13 goals.

What does he do: In defense, Bocanegra can play both centrally and on the left, though he projects as a center half at Racing. A high playing IQ makes up for Bocanegra’s lack of foot speed. While not physically imposing (6’0″), Bocanegra’s strength is an asset, with his ability on set pieces helping him register a career high five goals during the 2006-07 season at Fulham.

How much did he cost: It’s a season-long loan, though there’s no word on who’s covering wages, to what extent, and if there’s an additional fee. Nobody seems to tell us these things about loan deals.

How does he fit: With Racing thin in the middle, Bocanegra shouldn’t have any trouble keeping a spot in the team. The style of play, however, may be a challenge, particularly shifting from the Scottish Premier League. In the SPL, Bocanegra’s physicality made him a good fit. In the Segunda, Bocanegra’s speed may be tested more often.

With Rangers playing in the fourth division, Bocanegra had to move. Spain’s second division isn’t ideal, but as we saw over the last year with Mexico’s Andres Guardado (then playing for Deportivo La Coruña), it’s possible to maintain your international form while playing in the Segunda.

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Deadline day snapshot: Clint Dempsey moves to Tottenham from Fulham

clint dempsey

As President Gerald Ford famously said while being sworn into office, our long national nightmare is over, and while the transfer saga of a soccer player moving from one good club to another can hardly be called a nightmare, the melodrama that’s surrounded Clint Dempsey’s move from Fulham deserves an equally theatrical conclusion.

Who is he: At 29 years old, this is Dempsey’s big move, having spent the last four-and-a-half years at Fulham after moving from MLS’s New England Revolution. Over his final two seasons with the Cottagers, Dempsey scored 36 all-competition goals, becoming Fulham’s all-time leader in Premier League goals (as well as their single-season record holder). One of the United States men’s national team’s two big stars, Dempsey has 27 international goals in 87 career appearances.

What does he do: After starting as a wide-to-in player during his first years at Fulham, Dempsey evolved into somebody who is most effective working through the middle. Though most of his scoring comes from his intelligent off-the-ball penalty area movement, Dempsey’s skill on the ball allows him to act as a facilitator, his strong shot also making him a threat just outside the penalty area. Surprisingly strong in the air, Dempsey often benefits from matchup advantages on set pieces. While Dempsey lacks a true world class skill, he is a plus-contributor in all facets of the game, including work rate.

How much did he cost: Fulham confirmed a £6 million ($9.5 million) price. Some will see that as pricey for a 29-year-old in the last year of his deal, but for a player who scored 17 Premier League goals last season (and was willing to commit to a three-year deal), it’s a justifiable expense.

How will he fit: Very well. On paper, Dempsey should start along with Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor up top in Andre Villas-Boas’s preferred 4-3-3. Dempsey’s skill set fits perfectly with what Villas-Boas wants from his players, while his goal scoring will be a plus for a team that just sold one of last season’s leading scorers (Rafael van der Vaart).

Off the field, Dempsey and his family get to stay in London while he gets an unquestioned move up. While Spurs aren’t in Champions League, they finished fourth last season, and with the additions of Moussa Demebélé and Hugo Lloris, Tottenham are ready for another run at Champions League.

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Deadline day snapshot: Pablo Hernandez moves to Swansea City from Valencia

pablo hernandez

Swansea City moved quickly to replace the departed Scott Sinclair, with Michael Laudrup going back to Spain to lure winger Pablo Hernandez from Valencia to Wales.

Who is he: A Valencia youth product with local roots, Hernandez has spent almost his entire career at the Mestalla, debuting with Los Che in 2006. After a brief move to Getafe in 2007-08 (where he scored four goals in the UEFA Cup), Hernandez was bought-back by Valencia. Over the last four seasons with the club, Hernandez has averaged 27 appearances, four goals,and four assists.

What does he do: As a winger, Hernandez is a perfect fit for what Michael Laudrup’s doing at Swansea, especially considering (thanks to Michu) he won’t be expected to make up for the goals Sinclair took with him to Manchester City. Hernandez is a completely different kind of player, less likely to get on a final ball than be part of creating one. He may not be as fast as some of his new teammates (Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge), but his combination of speed, skill, and tactical sense makes him the type of player who’d have a role on even the most talented teams. Pablo’s understated emergence is a big reason why Valencia has been able to persist near the top of La Liga.

What did he cost: A modest fee if £5.5 million ($8.7 million), though that is a Swansea City record.

How does he fit: Very well, and not only because Laudrup’s familiar with him. There’s a natural spot for him in Swansea’s system, and he provides a nice (and, needed) alternative to Dyer and Routledge. His awareness means he fits nicely with Laurdrup’s style, and if Swansea is counting on Michu continuing to be one of their main goalscorers, Hernández is a great complementing part.

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Deadline day snapshot: Hugo Lloris moves to Tottenham from Lyon

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The fee won’t say it, but today’s transfers won’t get much bigger than Hugo Lloris. Daniel Levy and Tottenham pulled off a coup, convincing the 25-year-old France captain to relocate from Lyon to North London.

Who he is: Lloris is considered by some to be the best goalkeeper in the world. Those who won’t concede the crown still admit he’s one of the world’s best.

Born in Nice in 1986, Lloris debuted for his hometown club in 2005, moving to then-Ligue 1 champions Lyon at the end of the 2007-08 season. That year, he make his senior debut for the France national team, eventually claiming the team’s one shirt ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Laurent Blanc would later name Lloris captain of Les Bleus.

What does he do: At 6’2″, Lloris is not physically imposing. More Iker Casillas than Petr Cech, he’s a reflex keeper, not one who will dominate his penalty area. That’s the one part of his game where he could be open to (relative) criticism: Decisiveness and efficacy coming off his line. Unfortunately, he’s going to a country that can be relentless about dwelling on that skill (ask David de Gea). In all other aspects – shot-stopping, organizing his defense, and otherwise reading the game – he’s among the best in the world. His leadership qualities could also prove valuable to a team transition into a new coach.

How much did he cost: Amazingly little, given his stature. Lyon gets €10 million up front ($12.6 million, per the BBC), potentially rising to €15 million.

How does he fit: Like any `keeper – in goal.

Deadline day snapshot: Maicon moves to Manchester City from Inter Milan


The diaspora of the 2010 Champions League winners from Inter Milan continued on Friday, with Manchester City nabbing a player who, despite some regression, is one of the world’s better right backs. For Maicon, he gets a reunion with Roberto Mancini, with whom he won two Scudetti in Italy. He also gets a nice new contract.

Who is this guy: At his best, he’s one of the best right backs in the world. A strong, athletic defenderwith a powerful shot, Maicon scored 16 goals in 176 league appearances during his six year tenure in Milan. At 31 years old, he’s starting to regress from the form that made him the best right back in the world, part of the reason a restructuring Inter are willing to move on.

What does he do: More than other elite right backs, Maicon is capable of doing a little bit of everything. His speed and athleticism can provide width in attack or, using his powerful shot, a threat cutting in. In defense, he can play as a conventional full back or a wing back (valuable given Mancini’s current dalliance with a 3-5-2). He has the physical strength to match attackers one-on-one. Injuries are starting to become a concern, and his rate of regression will be key to whether this is a worthwhile move for City.

How much did he cost: Only £3 million ($4.8 million), a price influenced by age and contract (Maicon was in the last year of his deal). His new deal runs through June 2014.

How does he fit: Not many players could step right into City’s team, but Maicon should. He can play on the right in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2. He has the physical strength to compete immediately in the Premier League, and being familiar with Roberto Mancini, Maicon’s transition time should be minimal.

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