I’ve now heard three or four people (including Beau Dure) express worry over the Onyewu to Milan move. Is Milan deep? Sure it is. But it’s also old. And so far, there is zero evidence to show that this is any kind of shirt-selling, American marketing ambition behind this deal. Are we really so cynical as to immediately fear for a player’s form and career whenever one signs for a big European club? Shouldn’t we be thrilled about this? Of course.
There are plenty of very good reasons that Milan signed him:
- He showed an ability to compete with some of the best players in the world in the Confederations Cup and elsewhere
- He has physical attributes that coaches everywhere dream of in a central defender
- He possesses a Belgian passport, meaning he does not count against Milan’s foreigner limit
- He was signed out of contract without a transfer fee
Allow me to compare him for a moment to another player from an “unfancied” soccer country, who, when signed, was assumed to be for commercial rather than on-the-field reasons – Park Ji Sung of Manchester United. Park has quickly become a fan, and managerial favorite at Old Trafford, and I see no reason why “Gooch” couldn’t do the same thing at the San Siro.