There are few things more exciting than salivating over that one player that would make a perfect addition to your favorite team. Maybe he’s a young up-and-comer that helped a mediocre South American club rise to a title. Or perhaps she is a USWNT star that would bring firepower to a position at need. No matter the justification, mulling over dream signings is a time -honored tradition in pubs and stadiums around the country.
Some of our writers (including yours truly) were recently tossing around names we would sign if we had our pick from any era, any league, any budget, guy or girl. It was fantastic and completely off the rails all at once.
And that’s the inherent beauty of these types of discussions: Nobody’s wrong! Sure, you still try to rip your buddy apart for picking Christiano Ronaldo because he’s 1) way too obvious of a pick, and 2) probably the only starting player on Real Madrid he can name, but who cares?! The point isn’t that you need scientific backing, it’s that you need to care. Though some of these selections are made with the brain, many are the product of unbridled love for one’s team, country, and club.
So sit down, pour yourself a stiff drink, and join us for a trip deep into Wonderland as a handful of our writers name the one player they’d sign if they had their pick.
I would sign Claude Makélélé. If Minnesota United were to sign him in his prime, I would realistically pay around $5 million per season, as that’s slightly less than Andrea Pirlo makes and the Italian is more of an offensive player which drives his price up.
When you think about prototypical MLS designated players, Makélélé isn’t someone you probably would consider as a big-ticket signing due to the fact that he was a defensive midfielder and rarely contributed goals on offense. Most MLS designated players are brought in to strengthen the attack of a team but I’ve decided to bring in a player to shore up the defense and midfield.
Makélélé pretty much changed the way the defensive midfield position was played in the mid-2000s, and it would be incredible to see him police the midfield in MLS. His speed, strength, and ability to analyze and break up plays is something that would take a team to the next level. Another reason why Makélélé would have been a great fit as a designated player is due to the fact that he played well into his late thirties without experiencing a drop-off in the quality of his play. After winning the Champions League as a Galactico in Madrid in 2002, he continued to play at an extremely high level, making 30 appearances in three consecutive years between 2008 and 2011 for Paris Saint-Germain when he was over the age of 35.
Mia Hamm, realistically pay her between $750,000 and $1 Million
Why: She is by far the most recognizable player in USWNT history but as well holds many records and achievements as a player. As a forward she held (until 2013) the record (for any gender) of most international goals scored at 158, has the career assists record at 144. With 275 International caps, 2 World Cup and 2 Olympic Gold Medals she brings some much needed experience to the lineup. With those statistics she would be a realistic compliment to both CR21 and Kevin Molino and that in the day there really wasn't a professional women's league, let's give the best player in USWNT history a shot at MLS.
Clarence Seedorf. If Alexis Sanchez thinks he is worth what he is, Dorf is worth at least $250k a week.
I grew up a huge fan of Milan and the Netherlands National Team, and Seedorf was the star. The man could control the midfield better than I had ever seen to that point. Look up highlights on YouTube. You won't be disappointed. He could rip a shot from anywhere in the offensive half and it was magnetized to the net. Now I am going to look for a Milan throwback Seedorf kit.
Growing up, my favorite Minnesota athlete was Randy Moss. Not only was Randy a freak athlete, but he also had a unique personality and didn't care what you thought about it. For me, those kinds of athletes are the most interesting, and that's why I'd take George Best as my All-Time DP.
The former Manchester United attacker was the world's best player in his prime, and Pele himself even said that the Northern Ireland international was one of the best players he'd ever seen. Best was the youngest ever Player of the Year in the 1968-1969 season in England, a season in which he also scooped the Baloon d'Or.
Best's abilities to control the ball in tight spaces and to beat a man one-on-one were, well...the _best_. He was such an exciting player because every time the ball found his feet, he had a chance of putting it in the back of the net. Plus, Best actually played in the States towards the end of the career so he'd likely have no problem playing in MLS.
As the most exciting attacker in the league, Seb Giovinco pulls in about $7 million. If he were here, George Best would almost certainly supplant Giovinco as the most electric forward in the league. As such, he'd deserve at least $8 million.
My pick for a historical signing would be Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, or the original Ronaldo as I like to call him.
In my eyes, Ronaldo is the greatest player I've ever seen, especially his 96-97 season with Barca where he scored 47 goals in 49 games, and the most dangerous attacker I can think of, even a bigger threat than Messi and present-day Ronaldo. I've never seen someone with his combination of pace, power, technical ability and relentlessness to score no matter who or what was in front of him. He was the model striker and what every young player should strive to replicate. If his knees didn't repeatedly fail him I think he would've gone down as a top-3 player ever, if not the greatest. The man cold do it all and he proved it on the biggest stages in the world with all the world's pressure on him.
I'd pay anything it took to get him at my club and I'd even send the club money out of my own pocket to make it happen.
For a modern player, I’d go with AC Milan's Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. He was Milan's starter when the club played at US Bank stadium last summer and I was shocked by the composure he has for just 18 years of age. It would cost quite a bit to convince Milan to sell him, but I'd guess we could pay him in the $800k to $1 million range.
As far as historic players go, it's Johan Cruyff for me. He was a true innovator of the game whose impact will last for years to come, plus we could maybe see some Dutch-esque total football going on. Resurrection isn't cheap these days, and who knows how MLS would handle his discovery rights (maybe if we resurrected him in Minnesota he could count as a Homegrown Player). His salary would be up there, at least a million or more.
If I could sign any player to a DP contract, I would sign Landon Donovan. Sure there are better players I could choose, but I would choose him because he proved he could thrive in the unique environment MLS is. There have been some very big name players who fell on their faces in MLS for various reasons but Landon was able to play at an extremely high level in this league for a very long time. I also like the fact he embraced the league unlike some players who feel like it is below them. Plus, the thought of CR21, Molino and Donovan on the attack makes me giddy.
I nearly picked 2015-16 N’Golo Kanté. Then I nearly picked Alex Morgan. But anyone that knows me at all could have told you where my part of this article would end up: Frank Lampard.
Lampard doesn’t make sense as a DP pick for United for a whole bunch of reasons but I don’t care. A decade ago, he was the reason I first broadened my sporting horizons from American football and hockey to include Premier League soccer. Though I was still years away from searching for a local club to support, falling in love with Chelsea FC was a critical step in my journey to becoming a soccer nut.
From the very first, Super Frank’s combination of electrifying midfield play and high-octane participation in the attack drew me in. He was a communicator on the pitch, a leader among his teammates. As a Chelsea fan, I’ve lost since realized that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for this club or this player. But Lampard will always embody that raw, wide-eyed awe that coursed through my veins as I watched my first Premier League matches that summer after a few days spent in England.
Are Lampard’s legs shot? Yup. After his stint with NYCFC, his body is definitely beyond MLS starting quality. Would Frank cost an incredible amount of money? You betcha. No logical argument against signing him can pierce my iron-clad, irrational reverence for his years of world-beating play for a club I love.
How much would we pay him? All of the dollars.
Aside from a total lack of qualification, my desire to bankrupt a perfectly good club to buy an over-the-hill player is probably why I’ll never manage a club. Probably for the best.
Who is your dream signing? Sound off below!