Yossi Benayoun isn't much longer for Chelsea. The Israeli international, whose tenure with the Blues was plagued by injury in his first year and disinterested manager from then onwards, is out of contract on July 1st and will almost certainly move on, saving us a good deal of money in the process.
Where's he going? I'll let Yossi himself tell you:
At the moment I'm in talks with several European teams. I'm checking my options but, to tell you the truth, America is one of my favourite options. I'm trying to do everything I can to come to America and play in the MLS, and hopefully it works out in the next few weeks.
-Source: Sky Sports.
Could Benayoun find a home in the states? I asked SB Nation's MLS bloggers whether their team might be a fit. Initially I thought that Toronto FC might be a good destination, but David Rowaan of Waking the Red more or less shot that one down:
Toronto FC recently missed out on signing fellow Isreali National Team player Tal Ben Haim because his wage demands were too rich for the club. It is likely that a player like Benayoun would also be looking for a large wage but the club is reportedly on the hunt for a summer addition in the DP range. It is unlikely that Benayoun would be that big name signing but his profile is similar to a lot of Toronto FC's recent additions. He has made a name for himself playing in England, will be familiar to Ryan Nelsen from his time in the Premiership, and his ability to play around the midfield would make him a good fit for Toronto as they are in need of quality in that area.
If he were willing to come in below the DP level then he would be a nice addition for TFC. At the DP level though it just does not make much sense for a team that is trying to cut down their wage bill and is in need of improvement all over the field. With Tim Lieweke, formerly connected to the L.A. Galaxy moving over to TFC's parent company MLSE the team is supposed to be looking for a Beckham level signing which would fill their final DP slot. With Danny Koevermans and Matias Laba on the books already I would say Benayoun is not an option but this management team has already sprung a few surprises so who knows.
Most of the other bloggers said no, citing Benayoun's high cost, and even the New York Red Bulls, whom he's been linked to in the past don't look like they have room on the squad. But fear not, Yossi, because there's a team that has money and a place for you. Los Angeles! Here's Josie Becker from LAG Confidential:
If Bruce Arena can find space in his heart to play a 4-4-1-1, the Benayoun could absolutely fit in with the LA Galaxy. With Keane up top, Benayoun behind him, Donovan and Rogers running the wings, and Juninho and Sarvas running the engine behind them, baby you got a stew going!
It'd put the Galaxy attack at the top of MLS, and with a DP spot open and plenty of cash sitting around it's within the realm of possibility. Not to mention Los Angeles has a large Jewish population which it would be great to see rallying around the club. Having three DPs representing three diverse cultures would truly represent the giant salad bowl that is Los Angeles.
Seems like as good a fit as any. I hope that Benayoun can find a place he wants to be. Most of his struggles with Chelsea weren't really his fault -- that Achilles injury early on was a killer -- and although he never really endeared himself to supporters, that was probably because he simply didn't have a chance. So... good luck with your MLS dream, Yossi. I'll always remember you for that amazing goal you scored in pre-season against the Wycombe Wanderers.