An American star at Bayer Leverkusen? That's exactly what the club's chairman Michael Schade is looking for.
"If I could have a wish, I would like to get a player that really could play in the first team from America and from China because that would open new markets," Schade told reporters while discussing the club and league's international expansion.
"If a player from the United States — let me say a [striker] — would come here and score every week, it would be a dream come true."
Bayer currently have one American, third string goalkeeper David Yelldell. But Yelldell has just one cap for the United States and the club don't have any intention of him playing regularly, now or in the future. They have featured Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Frankie Hejduk and Claudio Reyna in the past, but none made a huge impact in the U.S.
The problem for Bayer, if they really want to sign a great American that will resonate stateside, is that there really isn't one. Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are still the biggest stars in American soccer, but they're not huge. Huge swaths of supporters aren't going to hop on the Bayer bandwagon for any of the four and, frankly, none of the four are good enough to feature for Bayer right now. Go beyond those four and you have Fabian Johnson, Aron Johannsson and John Brooks already in the Bundesliga, but there aren't many Americans who are wearing Borussia Monchengladbach, Werder Bremen or Hertha Berlin jerseys around.
The U.S. doesn't have anyone who qualifies as a star and someone who can play a big role, let alone score every week. There isn't that star power or anyone that good. Schade's wish is nothing more than a dream.
If Bayer really want an American who can fit Schade's description, they will have to look younger and hope that a young American project develops. That could be someone like Matt Miazga, although defenders are decidedly less sexy, or Jordan Morris. But there isn't one that fits the bill now. It's nice that a Champions League club is looking, though.