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Onyewu strains back muscle, Twente awaits test results.

Edu tally helps Rangers to easy 4-0 victory over Hamilton.

Spector scores again, helps West Ham blank Barnsley 2-0 in FA Cup.

Onyewu appears headed to Dutch champ FC Twente from AC Milan.

Strange own goal undoes Howard, Everton in 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Clark, Cooper return to action for their clubs in Germany.

Holden drills home winner, lifting Bolton to 2-1 decision over Rovers.

Friedel's future is unclear as Villa searches for replacement.

Howard concedes bad PK, goal; Everton still draws 1-1 with Chelsea.

Friedel considers return to Columbus Crew as player-coach.

Spector's first two goals in six years lead West Ham to shocking rout of Man. U.

Dempsey assumes Fulham lead in goals, provides draw with Birmingham.

Riding the bench in Greece, Adu tries to find home in Denmark.

Holden's scores first EPL goal, adds assist in Bolton triumph.

Edu's goal before early exit gives Rangers 1-1 draw with Inverness.

With Edu in midfield, Rangers down Celtic to stay atop Premier League.

Neck injury to disable Bocanegra for at least three weeks.

Dempsey strike helps Fulham to another draw, 1-1 with West Ham.

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Americans Abroad

Bradley joins Aston Villa from Germany after transfer odyssey.

By Robert Wagman
   (in Washington, D.C.)
SoccerTimes

(Tuesday, February 1, 2011) -- United States midfielder Michael Bradley is now officially a member of Aston Villa in the English Premier League, on loan from his German Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach. However, his journey from Moenchengladbach to Villa Park was filled with twists and turns and might be viewed as a cautionary tale.

"I am really excited to be joining Villa," Bradley told Villa's official website. "I am proud and thrilled and can't wait to get going now.

"Everyone can see that Villa is a big club, a fantastic club, with tradition and great supporters. Over the past few years, Villa have made big strides and are trying to challenge at the very top of the Premier League. I am excited to be part of that and I am excited to be here. I want to play at the highest level and test myself in the biggest of games. Whether it's on Saturday against Fulham at Villa Park or the week after, I am excited to be here and ready to get going."

Bradley's journey actually began in South Africa last summer where he performed well in the World Cup. Even before he had rejoined Moenchengladbach to begin training for the current season, inquiries had started to arrive regarding Bradley's possible availability for transfer.

Yet, Gladbach had high hopes for the new season after narrowly escaping relegation last year. It had made a few new signings and Bradley was integral to its plans, so the club deflected any interest.

Gladbach's optimism didn't last long. Twenty matches in, Gladbach is tied for last place in the 18-team league at 4-12-4 with 20 points, six points from escaping the relegation zone.

Now, Bradley presented a problem. He was in the last year of his contract and after the season would be free to leave with the team not receiving any compensation for him. Bradley, at the same time was desperate to get not wishing to ride down to the 2. Bundesliga with his relegated club.

So a deal was made and Bradley was made available for the midyear transfer window which opened in January.

Several German clubs and one in Spain immediately made inquiries. More importantly from Bradley's standpoint, Sunderland of the English Premier League very publicly readied a bid and it was clear that Bradley preferred a move to the EPL.

Then a problem arose. Gladbach put a price of $6.8 million on the transfer and interest began to dry up quickly. Meanwhile, Gladbach acquired midfielder Michael Fink as Bradley's replacement and the club was ready to move on.

Sunderland removed its offer. The word was that the English club could not afford the Gladbach's price, but then Sunderland purchased Paris St. Germain midfielder Stephane Sessegnon for $9.1 million demonstrationg it did not think Bradley was worth the proposed money.

So, where did all this leave Bradley? Actually, he was looking at a move to Turkey, where he really didn't want to go. Galatasaray had the money and was willing to spend it in an effort to return to major European Champions League contenders. Although U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel had once played for the Turkish club, it would have been a significant step down for Bradley.

Somehow fate and probably his agent, or perhaps his father, U.S. men's coach Bob Bradley, or possibly someone else convinced Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier he needed Bradley. A deal was quickly worked out, sending Bradley to Villa Park for the remainder of the 2010-11 season on loan.

Both clubs confirmed that Villa has the option of buying Bradley for about $6.9 million at the end of the loan. Most likely, since Bradley was due to become a free agent after this season, he needed to sign a contract extension before Gladbach would agree to the loan.

"Michael is a very hard-working midfielder who can score goals and is versatile," Houllier said. "I saw him play four times at the World Cup in South Africa. I saw him once on TV, but four times at the games for the national team, so in terms of scouting, you cannot say the work has not been done. We're pleased that he is here at Aston Villa."


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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