Hello all! Today we are going to be digging into a transfer rumor that has been flying around. Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is the target of numerous MLS teams this upcoming summer. With his contract expiring in a few months, Robben can join any team that offers. Having watched Robben play for years now, I would personally love an Arjen Robben to the MLS move. Does it make sense for him though? What teams are interested? Let’s get into it!
Why The MLS?
It is not a secret that Major League Soccer is hungry for well-known players. Fans of the game in America want to see famous footballers that they have seen from overseas growing up. Players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Carlos Vela are some of the best players in the league who have had success across the pond. Other famous players who have spent time in the MLS include David Beckham, Kaka, Frank Lampard, and Andrea Pirlo. Although they are no longer in the league, those players helped the MLS grow in the United States by bringing star power.
Because of this, Arjen Robben to the MLS just makes sense. He has the star power that the league desires. Casual fans know his name and that can be enough to get them to buy tickets to go to matches. I can still remember his blazing sprint past Sergio Ramos in the 2014 World Cup to score the fifth goal in the Netherlands 5-1 win over Spain. Robben will sell tickets to matches and join a league where he will thrive. The MLS is not as high quality as the Bundesliga, yet there a solid players there that can present challenges to the Dutchmen. It is the perfect place to sign off on an amazing career while still playing at a highly competitive level.
Which Teams Are A Fit?
Obviously any team in the MLS would love to have Arjen Robben on their squad. However, it is not physically possible for all teams to sign him. The MLS operates under a rule known as the Designated Player Rule. To explain it simply, every team in the league has a maximum amount of money they are allowed to pay their players. This past season it was just over 4 million USD. With the Designated Player Rule, MLS teams are able to sign three players for an unrestricted amount, with a portion of their salaries being covered under the salary cap and the remainder by the team. If an MLS team wants to sign Robben but already has three designated players, they would have to let one of their DP’s go, or shift their salary under the actual salary cap.
It would be hard to predict teams that would drop one of their Designated Players. Therefore, for the sake of this article, I will only look at teams that have an open space and would realistically look to sign Robben. Here are the top landing spots that I could see Arjen ending up at!
1. Colorado Rapids
The Rapids biggest Designated Player signing, Tim Howard is not getting any younger or better for that matter. Colorado is winless after six matches in the league and are looking for a spark to help them push for the playoffs. Robben brings a goal scoring presence and could provide excellent service for Kei Kamara up top. Would Colorado be willing to pay Robben what he wants?
2. FC Cincinnati
In their first season of existence, FC Cincinnati is currently in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. As a newer franchise, they only have two Designated Players. The only question would be whether the young club has enough cash to sign a player of Robben’s stature? Bringing a seasoned veteran into the side would help push Cincinnati to early success and help the club establish themselves in the MLS.
3. DC United
Although they currently sit in second place, DC still have an open Designated Player space. They could seek to add a new weapon in Robben who could be the last piece to push them over the top. With a potential attacking four of Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola, Wayne Rooney, and Arjen Robben, United would be a force in the Eastern Conference. I think DC would be a great spot for Robben and he could help lead them to a title.
4. Toronto FC
Rumors have been swirling that Toronto is Robben’s preferred destination but ESPN’s Taylor Twellman has come out and said the chances of this happening are not high. As much as I would love to see Arjen suit up for TFC this most likely won’t happen with their recent signing of Alejandro Pozuelo.
5. FC Dallas
Last but not least we have FC Dallas. This one may look strange on paper, but hear me out. If you don’t know, FC Dallas are strong supporters of playing their own youth. However, they have a relationship with Bayern Munich that sees the sides share strategies and has also led to some transfers of FC Dallas academy stars over the Atlantic to Germany. Would a deal potentially happen in the other direction with Robben heading to Dallas? They could certainly use a veteran in their young squad, I think it makes a lot of sense!
So that’s all I have on Arjen Robben to the MLS! What do you think of the news? Where should Robben move? Which team in the MLS makes sense? Let me know in the comments and feel free to share and subscribe! Until next time God bless, thank you again to Fredrik for his great work. Follow him on Twitter @F_edits, he is for hire if you need a graphic designer for a project!