A United States player apparently wants to join the Columbus Crew. That's what Gregg Berhalter says, although he won't say who that player is.
"I don’t want to say names, but I got a call yesterday about a guy who wanted to specifically come to Columbus," Berhalter said. "A big national team player, and I thought that was interesting. All of a sudden we’re getting calls where people are coming to us."
The Crew are atop the allocation order so they would get the first crack at any incoming internationals that are subject to the allocation order (i.e., not as good as Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey and whose rights aren't owned by another team). But who is this player?
The only player from the World Cup team that would make sense would be Jermaine Jones or Mix Diskerud, except Jones is reportedly set for the Chicago Fire so scratch him off the list. That leaves Mix, but remember that he and the Portland Timbers were near a deal before last season that fell apart because Mix wasn't a fan of the way players in the league could be traded.
It is possible that Mix wanted to make sure he would be playing and living in a city he liked and that is why he didn't like the idea of being traded. Columbus is low on many players' list of places to play so if he wanted to pick his city, that could rule Mix out as Berhalter's mystery player. But Mix's opposition to MLS's trades could be that he wanted to settle in a market and stay, something that keeps Columbus as an option so long as he gets a no-trade clause.
If the player Berhalter is talking about, Berhalter is probably stretching the term "big" a little bit. There isn't another big national teamer looking for a home, unless you count Sacha Kljestan, who is reportedly set for the Galaxy.
That leaves only a handful of national teamers left for Columbus and none of them are big. It could be Brek Shea, but he hasn't played regularly in a year and wasn't even in World Cup training camp. Eric Lichaj is another candidate, but he hasn't been a part of the national team picture in a long time, nor has Jonathan Spector. All three would be nice additions, but it's tough to call any of them "big."
At another time, Michael Orozco and Edgar Castillo could have been candidates, but both are starting for their clubs in Liga MX right now. Tim Ream just got a new contract at Botlon so he is probably out, while Terrence Boyd joining Red Bull Leipzig weeks ago. Joe Corona might be in play, but Xolos would almost certainly demand a pretty sizable fee and it's tough to imagine Columbus shelling out for him.
So who is this mystery international that Berhalter is talking about. It may be Mix, but if not, it's probably not a "big" player. Of course, who knows if Oguchi Onyewu was exhausted all his options in Europe? But in the meantime, we wait and see if the Crew can bring this national teamer home, whoever he is.