Matt Besler Eyes European Move


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his World Cup dreams being dashed 10 days ago, Sporting Kansas City’s captain, Matt Besler, is realizing new dreams in the wake of his standout performances in Brazil.  The two-time MLS All-Star has caught the eye of several teams from the English Premier League and the Bundesliga, and is reportedly deciding his future in the coming week.  While opportunities have arisen left and right for 27-year-old defender, SKC are hopeful to keep their star player.

Last weekend the budding star met with his club’s leadership to discuss his future with the Kansas based club.  Besler’s existing contract ends in 2015, but the MLS franchise is nervous that they might lose their captain to European Football.  Eddie Rock, Besler’s agent, announced that former MLS Breakout Player of the Year would be pondering his options and making a decision in the coming days.  The 2013 MLS Cup Champions are going to do everything in their power to keep Besler stateside by potentially offering him a raise, but money may not be enough to keep the Kansas native in America.

“It would be a dream of mine to play my entire career (at Sporting Kansas City). That’s one of my dreams … But you have other dreams, as well. Maybe one of my other dreams could be to play in Europe.” – Matt Besler

Sporting the red, white and blue in the World Cup for the first time, Besler was skipper Jurgen Klinsmann’s most trusted defender and started all four games in the defense.  The six-foot-one defender was tasked with marking the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Thomas Muller during the tournament, and looked more than capable of staying with players of that caliber.  Since Klinsmann called up the defender in January in 2013, the Yankee’s defense has improved markedly and is now possibly their strongest feature.

While Besler is a Kansas native and gave the club a hometown discount when he re-signed in 2013, his devotion to the club has been tested by the interest from overseas. “It would be a dream of mine to play my entire career (at Sporting Kansas City). That’s one of my dreams,” said the Kansas City defender to local media, “But you have other dreams, as well. Maybe one of my other dreams could be to play in Europe. If that’s one of my dreams, that’s something I have to think about.”

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But is Besler’s best move to simply stay put in the United States where he has come into so much success?  One could argue that the 27-year-old has risen through the ranks in his home country, and playing against MLS talent has developed into a starting centre back for the national team.  Besler was far and away the best defender for the United States at the tournament and a move away from the MLS could hinder his form and development as he has already proven that playing at Kansas City is more than enough.

The other factor to take into consideration is the amount of playing time that the American will get overseas.  If the defender makes a move to Europe and becomes a role player of rotational substitute, his development as a professional could be severely hindered.  The United State’s Michael Bradley only appeared in 11 matches during the 2013 Serie A season with Italian side A.S. Roma.  Bradley’s move to Toronto F.C. has allowed the midfielder to take on a starter’s role and play 90 minutes almost every match.

What a move to England or Germany could offer the Sporting Kansas City man is experience at a higher level and with a different pool or European talent.  Besler would face a larger variety of attacking talent that would better prepare him for International fixtures and possible help him elevate his game to the next level.  Considering that he has already shown that he is capable of playing with Europe’s best talent, I believe that a move abroad would be the next logical step in the defenders progression.  After winning the MLS Cup in 2013 and being selected as an MLS All-Star, Besler has little left to prove in his home country and could benefit immensely from a change of scenery.