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List of Americans Abroad

AS Monaco looks into acquisition of Bradley, Adu.

Bologna displays interest in Adu, as does Genoa.

Onyewu looks to move after helping Standard to record season.

Keller heroics help Fulham save spot in Premier League.

Fulham, Reading Premier League futures to be determined by Sunday matches.

Fulham staves off relegation, at least for a weekend with shocking comeback.

With Onyewu, Standard takes Jupiler title; Heerenveen, Bradley make Dutch playoffs.

Relegation nears after Fulham is done in by Liverpool reserves.

Bradley has assist, but Heerenveen blows lead and loses to Sparta Rotterdam.

Behind U.S. quartet, Fulham makes last gasp to avoid relegation.

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Americans Abroad

Belgian citizenship makes Onyewu a more appealing transfer target in Europe.

By Chris Courtney (in Naples, Italy)
and Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)

(Monday, July 14, 2008) -- United States defender Oguchi Onyewu is not only an American citizen, but also now is a citizen of Belgium.

His naturalization, along with that of Standard teammate Mohamed Tchité, was made official Friday in Brussels in the Belgian government's Bulletin of Acts, Orders and Decrees.

By picking up a European Union passport, Onyewu made himself more attractive to teams in the transfer market. Should he move to England, he will no longer need to go through the work permit process. Even though with his regular starts for the U.S. men he likely would have had no problems, holding a passport from a European Union member country simplifies things considerably.

Perhaps more importantly, Onyewu's Belgian citizenship eliminates some very real potential problems in countries with restrictions on the number of non-EU players which can be on the field at one time. In France, only four non-EU players can be on the pitch at the same time while five are allowed in Italy's Serie A. The Spanish Primera Division allows a maximum of three.

Meanwhile, FIFA has sought to apply such restrictions throughout Europe, although the European Union has sued the global soccer federation, citing violations of European labor law. Regardless, by picking up an EU passport, Onyewu has now removed a potential obstacle to moving to a bigger club this fall.

Last week, according to several Belgian press reports, Standard de Liège, which Onyewu helped lead to the Belgian title last season, did not know where to find its American defender. Despite much speculation about where Onyewu might transfer next year (Fulham of England, Germany's FC Cologne, a French League team), the team has started training and expected him at practice.

Standard played a friendly match last night against Amay without Onyewu and club officials report they have been trying to contact him since June 22 without any luck.

It looks like Heerenveen of the Netherlands is driving a hard bargain before it parts with its leading goal scorer, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley. France's Le Figaro reported that AS Monaco's bid is now up to $13.6 million, after being previously reported at $9.6 million. Over the weekend, The Mirror of England reported that Middlesbrough had bid about $8 million, while Germany's Bild had Bayer Leverkusen's offer at $7.2 million.

It remains to be seen whether another club is able or willing to match Monaco's offer for the 20-year-old American. Either way, Bradley stands to become the most expensive U.S. player, surpassing the $10 million Villareal of Spain paid for to Major League Soccer and the New York Red Bulls for striker Jozy Altidore only one month ago.

Bradley has told the Dutch press that he "wants to play in a big league and prefers to play in England."

On Sunday, a Heerenveen spokesperson said the club might decide to keep Bradley instead of selling him, but this is unlikely given he is entering the last year of his contract. Without a new deal, Bradley would move as a free transfer in the summer of 2009.

Chris Courtney writes the blog Letters from Vagabondia. Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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