‘Benni isn’t a guy who sits on the bench and collects his cheque’
Benni McCarthy is plotting a move to America in 2011. Peeved about warming West Ham’s bench, the Bafana striker is considering switching to Major League Soccer (MLS) during the current transfer window.
Benni in training (check out the T-Shirt)
And in local transfer news, Mbulelo “OJ” Mabizela and SuperSport United have agreed a precontract deal; the defender will join them from Platinum Stars in June. The champions have also signed Rowen Fernandez from German club Arminia Bielefeld.
McCarthy’s agent, Rob Moore, said Benni has shed the love handles that made him a figure of fun in 2010. “He is frustrated at only being given cameo appearances. We’re looking at several possibilities. Benni wants to play. He’s not a guy who sits on the bench and collects his cheque.
“He has maintained his correct weight since October,” said Moore. “There are options in England and elsewhere in Europe, but I don’t think he would rule out an interesting move to an MLS club. It would be an opportunity to contribute to the game on another continent. We’ve had one or two discussions, and we’ll see what happens in coming weeks.”
Benni hasn’t scored for the Hammers since joining them on a two-and-a-half-year contract a year ago. Having made just 13 appearances, he has earned an estimated R1.8-million per game, or R20000 a minute of game time.
Moore would not comment on rumours that Celtic manager Neil Lennon is considering a move for McCarthy.
“I don’t know anything about that,” he said.
MLS clubs lure fading stars with lavish contracts. New York Red Bulls are the biggest spenders: their most recent acquisitions, Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez, are both netting more than $5-million a year.
But smaller MLS sides could be interested in McCarthy, and could offer him a “designated player” wage approaching his current salary. DC United, New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC are all possible buyers.
Meanwhile, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is leading the race to prise Steven Pienaar from Everton. Pienaar has six months remaining on his contract – and wants both Champions League action and a hefty pay rise.
Everton manager David Moyes is resigned to Pienaar’s departure, and the hard-up Toffees are ready to cash in a prized asset by selling him now instead of releasing him on a free transfer in six months. Their recent offer of a £65000-a-week deal has not impressed the Bafana star, who could command up to £100000 a week at a top-five Premier League club.
Moore, who is also Pienaar’s manager, said Spurs are a good fit for his client – even though the fast-rising Gareth Bale is a guaranteed starter in Pienaar’s regular position at Everton on the left wing.
“Steven can play across midfield,” said Moore. “He has played right midfield for South Africa and Ajax Amsterdam, and can play in the middle.”
Redknapp is not the only contender for Pienaar’s signature – Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have also been impressed with his creativity and work rate. “Everyone has assumed that he will be heading for Spurs but that’s not necessarily the case.
“Pienaar’s sporting objectives and financial considerations must be balanced,” said Moore. “Maybe Pienaar goes to a club where he can earn a lot of money, but doesn’t stand a realistic chance of fighting for honours. Maybe he earns a bit less, but has a better chance of honours. At 28, he still has big ambitions, and the next step is critical.”
Championship side Leicester will tell Bernard Parker tomorrow whether they want him on loan from FC Twente. Leicester, now coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson, are lying in a precarious 17th spot in the 24-team Championship.
Said Parker’s agent, Mike Makaab: “The Leicester board will make a decision by tomorrow. He needs game time, because he’s a seriously talented player. I’m surprised Twente haven’t used him more, but that’s their choice. Leicester would have an option to sign him at end of season if the deal goes through.”
“Eriksson was very impressed with him during his trial. He likes his attitude, and Bernard scored in a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.”
Macbeth Sibaya’s contract with Russian champions Rubin Kazan has come to an end this week. A Spanish La Liga club and a Bundesliga team are said to have expressed an interest in the Bafana veteran, but Rubin have indicated they could offer him another two-year contract.
Sibaya, currently on holiday in KwaZulu-Natal, will meet his business manager next week to decide on his next move.
Back in SA, Platinum Stars are still adamant that they will hold onto Mabizela – but the word from the defending champions is that the two parties have agreed terms.
United’s defence has been leaky and Mabizela could plug the gap that will be left by the departure of Bongani Khumalo to Tottenham. Pirates are also after their former player.
Stanton Lewis wants a move from Ajax Cape Town, where he has struggled to get game time as senior strikers Thulani Serero and Terror Fanteni are both excelling.
He is linked to The Revs, along with D.C., Seattle, and Toronto