What’s next for Charlie Davies?
Sochaux, the French club that owns his contract for another 18 months, might take him back to compete for a first-team slot. Or loan him to another European team. Or look to sell him. Or agree to extend his loan in MLS — which could land him back at D.C. United. Or more likely, with another MLS club.
“It’s wide open,” Lyle Yorks, Davies’s Washington-based agent with James Grant Sports, told the Insider on Wednesday. “He enjoyed his time here [in D.C.] but we have to make sure the next move is right, and it’s all based on playing time and the best environment.”
A decision is expected by mid to late December, Yorks said.
“There are a lot of moving parts to Charlie’s situation,” United General Manager Dave Kasper said. “We are in close contact with Lyle, and we will continue to have discussions regarding his future.”
In an inspiring comeback from multiple injuries suffered in a 2009 car accident, Davies scored 11 goals in 26 league appearances (18 starts). However, he fell out of favor with Coach Ben Olsen and started just one of the final four matches. Davies had his moments, most notably a two-goal performance in the season opener against the Columbus Crew and a hat trick at Chivas USA late in the year, but lacked consistency and labored to regain the explosiveness that defined his game before the accident.
At least two other MLS clubs are interested in acquiring Davies, Yorks said. He didn’t specify them. “My sense is there’s a strong possibility he’ll end up elsewhere in MLS,” Yorks added.
For that to happen, however, a prospective club would need to wait for Sochaux and MLS to agree to another loan or permanent transfer. At that point, United would trade his league rights.
Salary is also an issue. This year Davies earned about $225,000 from United, plus the balance of his Sochaux contract (believed to be another $400,000). Sochaux might ask for MLS to pick up a larger chunk of his salary. If so, would another team be willing and able to fit him under the salary cap?
In another possible scenario, though less likely than a loan/move within MLS, Davies could return to play for Sochaux, which is 4-5-5 and in 11th place in 20-team Ligue 1. The club could also loan him elsewhere in Europe until he proves he’s ready for top-tier competition. Davies might return to France in the coming weeks to be part of the discussions about his future, Yorks said.
Yet another possibility: Sochaux and Davies agree to terminate his contract, allowing him to move on a free transfer. Economically, however, Davies would have to find a club willing to pay him a comparable salary. Otherwise, there’s no financial incentive to walk away from the Sochaux deal.
“Everything,” Yorks said, “is up in the air.”
Among some of James Grants Sports’ other clients:
*U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu, who has a year and a half left on his contract with Rangers, is attracting interest from clubs in England and France, Yorks said. Rangers is interested in re-signing him, as well.
*U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein, who has played sparingly at Tigres since moving from MLS last year, will probably end up on loan elsewhere in Mexico, Yorks said. MLS is an outside possibility.
*Omar Gonzalez, the American center back who was MLS’s defender of the year and helped the Galaxy win the league title, is attracting interest in France and Germany, Yorks said. An English club is also eyeing him, but a work permit wouldn’t be possible because of his lack of U.S. national team experience. Gonzalez has two years remaining on his Galaxy contract, according to Yorks, and would command a respectable transfer fee for the Galaxy.
As for Gonzalez’s puzzling absence from national team camps, “Omar is being patient and waiting to see how things play out,” Yorks said. A call-up for the January camp at Home Depot Center seems likely. Gonzalez, a Texan of Mexican descent, is also eligible to play for El Tri.