So, DC United has gone out and signed MLS’ first ever Australian, forward Danny Allsopp from Qatar’s Al-Rayyan club.
Earlier, I tweeted that I hated the move. Maybe that was a bit harsh. Let me restate it this way instead. I am hugely worried about this move. Here’s why.
First off, I don’t know what his salary is yet, so this is just speculation on my part. That said, I suspect he’s going to be overpaid. Why? Because that’s why a player goes to Qatar and the other Gulf states – to be overpaid. I suspect DC has either matched his Qatari salary or given him a small raise which means he is probably greatly overvalued. We’ll see just how overvalued he is.
Secondly, he hasn’t played in a league equal to or better than MLS-quality since his time at Hull City in England’s third tier back in 2005. That worries me. Since then, he’s played in Asia where, as any occasional viewer of Football Asia can tell you, talented defenders and goalkeepers are practically nonexistant. I think the caliber of defenders and goalkeepers in MLS might surprise him.
Thirdly, I think the A-League might be worse than people who see its flashy FSC highlights show might realize. Let’s take a look at its Golden Boot winners since 2006, when Allsopp won it in Melbourne.
In 07, Newcastle’s Joel Griffiths won the honor. Before returning home to Australia, he failed at Neuchatel in Switzerland (4g, 72 app) and at Leeds United (only 2 app). Now he plies his trade at Beijing Guoan. That’s the same Beijing Guoan that last year failed to get out of the Asian Champions League group phase and lost to the might of Thailand’s Krung Thai Bank club.
In 2008, Kiwi international Shane Smeltz led the A-League. He arrived at the A-League after stints at English third tier club Mansfield Town, non-league AFC Wimbledon, and non-league club Halifax Town, which ceased to exist one season after Smeltz departed.
Does that kind of company lead you believe that his goals in the A-League will lead to goals in MLS? Nope, it does exactly the opposite.
Finally, there’s the ambition question. Could we be looking at a smaller-scale Mattheus situation here? Sure, he’s only in his early 30’s, but that move to Qatar troubles me. No one with ambition goes to Qatar. Look at the Qatari league’s alumni. Not a lot foreign guys went on to anything other than TV careers after their vacations, I mean time in Qatar.
Of course, I hope, as a DC fan, that he does well. It’s just that this signing raised a lot of warning flags.