Thursday, February 26, 2015

Heineman's Trip to Europe and Who He May Be Looking At

Robb Heineman is headed back to Europe. Last week on Twitter, Heineman tweeted that he was headed to Frankfurt and Milan in the next week, and asked fans who they may have been interested in. Immediately speculation went to who Heineman was going to see play, and who Heineman might be trying to get to come to Kansas City. Initially fans looked at Eintracht Frankfurt's roster, the only Bundesliga side in Frankfurt seemed like a good start, with a number of fans hoping for Peruvian international Carlos Zambrano, but that just doesn't seem likely. Another thought would be Timothy Chandler; the German-American also plays for Frankfurt.

Neither of those seemed extremely likely though, and shortly after thoughts turned to who Frankfurt was playing this coming weekend in the Bundesliga. Saturday Frankfurt host Hamburg SV at 6:30pm local time. The focus turned to Hamburg and one name that immediately stood out was Rafael van der Vaart, the Dutch international that Heineman had also mentioned as a rumored target previously. The Dutchman is out of favor in Germany, not even dressing in Hamburg's last game even though he was healthy and the club captain. He's also out of contract this summer, which is a phrase that most MLS clubs love to hear in relationship to a player they're interested in. Van der Vaart has been linked with a move to MLS and an unspecified MLS club recently in the German press, although there is apparently interest from Spain, Italy, and his former club, Ajax. Finally yesterday, Heineman even tweeted again that he was headed to see van der Vaart play (if he's in the 18).

Van der Vaart would be an interesting addition; he doesn't exactly fit the mold of the type of player Peter Vermes would want. Immediate questions come up regarding his work rate and whether he can be "Sporting fit." Another question that may have been answered is how you would play both van der Vaart and Benny Feilhaber on the field at the same time. So far in preseason, Feilhaber for the most part has been playing in a deeper midfield position, which would leave space for an attacking midfielder like van der Vaart to be brought in. The follow up question would be what that does to Krisztian Nemeth who has been playing that attacking midfield position behind Dom Dwyer the last two games and has had himself a very good preseason so far.

As for Heineman's next stop, Milan, there hadn't been a lot of talk about that, with most focused on the van der Vaart comments and Tweets, but that you can speculate on as well. One name that could come up is Lazio's Cristian Ledesma; the 32 year old Argentine midfielder who represents Italy internationally has been linked with a move to Sporting KC, where the club will offer him a "succulent contract." This weekend, Lazio is going to be playing Sassuolo on Sunday March 1st, which is two hours south of Milan, so not a long trip for Heineman to make if the rumor is true. Ledesma is a deep lying midfielder, which would give Kansas City even more midfield options, especially defensively. It almost feels a bit humorous and over kill the number of midfielders that KC is bringing in, or rumored to bring in. Even with the departure of Jorge Claros and James Marcelin, there are still a lot of bodies fighting for time in the defensive half of KC's midfield.
So we'll see if either one of these two players are the ones that Heineman is looking at during this trip to Europe. As always, take his tweets with a grain of salt and remember he loves to troll.

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