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MLS Talk: Tim Howard and Mario Balotelli

Tim Howard might be saying he's staying in Everton until his contract is up but if the MLS wants him bad enough, America has the money to make sure they get the top American star.

Tim Howard might be saying he’s staying in Everton until his contract is up but if the MLS wants him bad enough, America has the money to make sure they get the top American star.

Rumors of a possible return to the MLS by Tim Howard heated up and just as quickly flamed out.

The great American goalkeeper is under contract until the summer of 2018 and both he and Everton manager Roberto Martinez have said he’s not leaving at least until then. Despite those statements, one can look at the old adage “where there is smoke there is fire” and just say this is all being used as leverage to get the most money for the best American soccer player in the world, whether as a transfer fee or as a new contract.

The MLS and American fans want Howard back in the MLS. His return would be huge for the league and it’s growth. The MLS has done a great job to bring in top names and top talent but this is a guy who is a top name, top talent in the world right now and American.

Soccer is a nationalist sport, at least for many Americans. This doesn’t mean fans will shun foreign players, no, they’ll accept them with open arms. But Americans want the chance to see the best Americans live. Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones are huge stars in the MLS. Howard belongs on that list too.

The league is sure to do everything they can to lure him back over the Atlantic Ocean to play his club soccer, but how much resistance there will be from Everton, the team he has helped keep relevant, is the road block.

He has his issues but nobody can deny the incredible talent of Mario Balotelli.

He has his issues but nobody can deny the incredible talent of Mario Balotelli.

But if the MLS can’t get Howard, Mario Balotelli is an incredible consolation prize. This is a guy who is one of the absolute best players in the world right now and reports are that he is the one interested in going to Orlando City SC to play.

The star Italian strike has become a household name among soccer fans and while his off the field and even on the field antics have made him a known figure to even just casual fans who only pay attention every four years, everybody knows how good he is.

Getting one of the best players in the world right now would instantly legitimize MLS as a soccer league. It’s quietly one of the better league’s in the world but the international stigma of American soccer has held it back a bit.

But the money capable of being invested in the sport in America is a huge calling card for players.

Whether at Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan, with the Italian national team or even now Liverpool, Balotelli has proven to be one of the best strikers in the world and a possibility of going to Orlando City SC would mean linking up with former teammate Kaka again.

After parting ways with star striker Luis Suarez, Liverpool was quick to add another top scorer and bought Balotelli. But he just doesn’t fit the team’s 3-4-3 system and with the healthy return of Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool doesn’t particularly need the Italian.

Rogers has made it clear that he won’t sell Balotelli during the mid-season transfer window but hasn’t said he intends to keep him after the season is over.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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