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Black & Gold View: International partnerships could help with talent infusion

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Ties with clubs abroad can help MLS teams bring international names to U.S.

Stoke City v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

It may be a little oft of my usual Los Angeles Football Club musings, but I will attempt to tie it all back in the end, so be patient.

One thing that has helped elevate Major League Soccer is the infusion of international talent.

MLS: D.C. United at Minnesota United FC Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Wayne Rooney at DC United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (cough!) at LA Galaxy and so on. These signings have raised the league from just a continental league to one that garners international headlines from time to time.

But, something that is not widely used and tends to get overlooked is the ability of MLS clubs to partner with their international parents to bring in that international talent.

One such club is NYCFC.

Owned by the same group that owns Manchester City in the English Premier League, NYCFC has been able to leverage that partnership to bring in players like David Villa to the side and nearly instantly raise the credibility of the club and the league.

What piqued my interested about this was a story today in England that suggested Swansea City (currently in the English Championship) was eyeing a bit for Wales international Ashley Williams, but not to bring him to Wales.

The idea is owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan would sign the former captain and bring him to D.C. United to play with Rooney (a reuniting of the duo who played together last season at Everton). Of course, Levien and Kaplan both own D.C. United.

Interestingly enough, NYCFC and its connections with Manchester City, are also reportedly in the mix for Williams along with already-relegated Huddersfield Town and Aston Villa.

Williams is out of contract with Everton at the end of the season and it playing on-loan with Swansea rival Stoke City in the Championship.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not to say that every MLS team needs this kind of partnership to bring in top talent. LAFC was able to do without it to bring in Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi in its inaugural season.

However, if LAFC’s ownership were to partner with a club, say like Wolverhampton Wolves or even Watford (I wouldn’t suggest it with a top six team as that would likely have to include an ownership deal like with NYCFC and City), the Black-and-Gold could leverage that partnership to have the EPL side sign the player and loan them to LAFC.

I’m not suggesting it is the perfect scenario or that teams like LAFC need such a partnership, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.


M.A. Clark writes the Black and Gold View weekly for angelsonparade.com. If you would like him to address a comment, question or concern in an upcoming column, just put it in the comments below!