Brek Shea is finally getting out of Stoke City, and he's returning to MLS. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Stoke have agreed to sell Shea to Orlando City, who he will join for next season.
Shea's career has stalled ever since leaving FC Dallas for Stoke. He has barely played and has been completely written off. Even a loan spell to Barnsley was disastrous and while Jurgen Klinsmann tried to keep him sharp by calling him into a couple United States camps, he was so bad that he can't even get that look anymore.
More than anything, Shea needs to play, and he should be able to do that with Orlando. He trained with team when they were in USL over the summer and should be a starter when they join MLS in 2015. His training stint with the club should make him familiar with manger Adrian Heath and he will have an entire preseason to get fit again, as well as find his form.
Shea is just 24 years old so his career is hardly done. He is a big player with pace and has shown that he can be a dominant player in MLS. For him, it's about re-discovering that form and that can only come with playing time. With an expansion team, that shouldn't be hard to come by and he will only be 28 years old at the 2018 World Cup so Klinsmann will be hoping and praying that he can resurrect his career.
It's somewhat surprising how long it took Shea to find a new home. It was clear at least a year ago that he wasn't ever going to establish himself at Stoke and needed a new club. Part of the delay could have been his reported desire to stay in Europe, but his training with Orlando opened up that door. That his former agent is the Orlando general manager made that even more sensible.
There is no word yet on how much Orlando is paying Stoke for Shea, but it could be free. Orlando president Phil Rawlins used to a director at Stoke so they have a relationship, and the American has been so bad in recent years that there isn't much of a market for him. Stoke could very well be happy to get him off of their books and leave it at that.
Because Dallas collected a transfer fee when Shea left for Stoke, they no longer own his MLS rights. That means Shea, a U.S. international, should be subject to the allocation ranking (with MLS, this is always fluid) and NYCFC current top that. To make this happen, NYCFC either has to pass on its pick or Orlando has to trade up. Right now, it's unclear which it will be, but it's tough to imagine that stopping this move.