Because the January transfer window is upon us, and because the narrative is buoyed by the idea that World Cup-bound players need first-team playing time, there are two rumors involving American players following the announcement that Clint Dempsey will return to Fulham in January and February to help them in their quest to escape relegation.
The first involves Dempsey's longtime USMNT teammate Michael Bradley joining Dempsey at Fulham -- according to various sources, including the NBC Sports site and SB Nation's own Fulham fan site, the rationale behind the rumor is that Bradley's played well but has only received marginal playing time at Roma, appearing in 11 matches this season but only starting in five. At Fulham, Bradley could theoretically play a larger role on a squad in need of reinforcement, getting a workout against a greater number of World Cup first-teamers than he'll see in Serie A. Fulham is in very real danger of relegation -- its last match was a 6-0 drubbing this past Saturday against a just-promoted Hull City side -- so as long as Bradley doesn't get too emotionally invested in Fulham's fortunes, it's a move that potentially helps Bradley get seasoned for the Germany-Ghana-Portugal juggernaut as much as it helps Fulham vault the likes of Sunderland and Cardiff City.
The second involves Aron "Bacon" Johannsson, who, like USMNT teammate Jozy Altidore did last year, is scoring prolifically with AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie. Would moving to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League be a step up? (Especially since they're out of the Champions League and back to playing the likes of Motherwell and Dundee United?) There's at least one report hinting that it could happen if Celtic can gather £2.4M together, and he apparently routed a flight to Dubai through Glasgow on a recent trip and went to Twitter with his itinerary, which seems like a pretty elaborate way to feed a transfer rumor if that's all he was doing. It's hard to see how a move to Celtic now would help his development -- especially since he's more likely to see minutes at AZ at this stage -- but it could pay dividends once the USMNT starts readying itself for a 2018 World Cup run, if not in the run up to next year's tournament.