Remember those Brek Shea to Toronto FC rumors? Those were all rubbish.
Spencer Wadsworth, Shea's agent told MLS Soccer that he had discussions with TFC about Shea moving from Stoke City to MLS's newest big spenders, but they couldn't work anything out.
"Yeah, that was a long time ago, though," Wadsworth said when asked if Toronto FC had contacted Stoke for Shea’s services. "There was a discussion going on but that was a couple months ago and it just didn’t work out. We couldn’t come to terms. There was interest from all parties but it just didn’t work out at the end of it."
Now Shea is off of the United States' World Cup preliminary roster and set to return to Stoke for next season, where he couldn't find the field in his first full year with the club. It was only a year ago that Shea was considered likely to make the World Cup team, especially considering the Americans' lack of wide players, but after a season in which he barely played, Jurgen Klinsmann couldn't justify bringing Shea to Brazil.
So that means Shea has to make a move to a club where he'll play, right? That seems like a good bet, but that doesn't necessarily mean MLS, although some teams are interested.
"There’s multiple teams in MLS that are interested in Brek," Wadsworth said. "He appreciates Major League Soccer. Right now he’s focused on Stoke and getting into that team. He wants to prove himself in the Premier League."
Shea can say he wants to prove himself in the Premier League all he wants, and he probably does want to, but he's not going to stay with a bad situation. If he doesn't think he's going to play at Stoke next season he can't afford to stay there. He'll have to look at a move elsewhere, be it a sale or loan, and MLS is the logical landing spot. That's not to say it's the only possible play for him to go, but it has to be the favorite.
Toronto have the No. 1 spot in the allocation order so they would have first crack at the winger, but if they can't agree to a deal, he doesn't have to go to Toronto. It's possible that TFC trade out of the top spot, picking up a piece and allowing a team that can agree to a contract with Shea to move to No. 1 and select him. They could also just pass on the pick and let the Columbus Crew or FC Dallas pick him, as they rank No. 2 and 3 respectively in the allocation order.
At just 24 years old, Shea could very well still have a future with the U.S. There was a time when he was one of the country's brightest young players, but if he is going to turn things around and make himself a candidate for the next cycle -- he'll have two Gold Cups, Copa America and a World Cup all before he turns 28 -- he has to find a place where he's playing regularly.