"Gooch" the Shameless Tramp

As recently as Saturday, some big guns suggested that Oguchi "Gooch" Onyewu was Olympique Marseille-bound. I'm hardly chastising anyone for that, mainly because "Gooch" is stumbling between suitors like drunken revelers in some meat market bar just before last call.

And now we've reached the latest flirtation: England's Newcastle United, on loan and for the rest of the season.

Not surprisingly, people are waiting for ink to hit paper - and for said ink to dry - before calling this one a done deal. The closest thing to a definitive report I've seen appeared on Sports Illustrated's page - and that's the Associated Press item citing the loan arrangement noted above.

USSoccerplayers.com ran a less certain item, one with confused quotes from officials at both Newcastle and Standard Liege, Onyewu's current club, inserted into the copy. This second one gives an impression that, while someone's directing Onyewu to turn his head anbd cough (e.g. he's getting his physical), his current club doesn't seem to know much about it.

In any case, I really liked the Marseille move when I first read of it; they play the game purty in France and Gooch could use the polish. I like Newcastle too, though. Possibly to the extent that I'll just give in to that longing for the Kevin Keegan Newcastle of the mid-1990s and make Newcastle the English team I ignore during the MLS off-season (sorry, Liverpool).



Gareth Sleger said...

Sure, a move almost anywhere out of Belgium to France, Spain or England would be great. But, I still think that a move to Chelsea would have been the best. And now, there are reports that Mourinho will stay on as Chelsea manager.
A big reason the Chelsea move didn't work for Gooch was because it was uncertain if Mourinho would stay...

The Manly Ferry said...

Gareth. You crafty bugger. You found my site.

As for the Chelsea move, even with his agent paying attention to the playing time piece of a trade, there's still the issue of a mad Russian spending millions on players every year. Nice as the push for competition would be, I can't see any playing time equation holding for more than six months. And while it's true that Gooch won't get guaranteed time anywhere, I think Chelsea would be a harder proposition.

In any case, he's a youngster; there will be more time for these kinds of moves later.

By the way, to clarify the comment directed to Mr. Sleger, I see his byline over on Write On Sports. He does good work over there - including an item on Onyewu to Chelsea that's worth the read - even if the deal didn't pan out.

Gareth Sleger said...

I try to check out your site as much as possible, but I'm trying to become more of a "feedbacker".

Anyway, I totally agree on that Gooch MIGHT be pushed out of a spot by next season, but the opportunity to play regularly for Chelsea would have been great. Newcastle's defense has been knocked by injury this year, but three regulars (Moore, Ramage and Bramble) are all expected to return with in a couple of weeks. That would leave eight (plus Gooch) to compete for a spot. Also, Newcastle isn’t going qualify for Europe and is only ten points away from regulation zone.

Speaking of, Fulham is nine points away from the drop zone, which makes me worry for McBride, Bocanegra and Dempsey.

The Manly Ferry said...

Hmm...fair points, all of them. I suspect you're more practical than me - and that's a good thing.

Thanks for popping by.

Gareth Sleger said...

I would have never thought that any American player at Chelsea would turn out to be a practical situation.

The Manly Ferry said...

Back in the good ol' days, when Chelsea was just another way of saying "Tottenham," an American on the roster definitely sounded more plausible. They were more fun when signing Zola had everyone freaking out.

In any case, I was talking practicality from the player's perspective and mainly in terms of getting themselves involved in the most highly-competitive situations possible. Even when a team like Newcastle makes the Champions league (how long now?), they rarely stick around long. In that sense, Chelsea's a better move.

Still...I wonder about the environment there - and not just with Mourinho. It seems, I dunno, a bit Enron-esque.

Andrew said...

Hi Guys,

I'm a newcastle fan, and have just been browsing looking for a general US opinion on 'Gooch' seeing as it seems he may be about to sign for us.

With regard to playing, I don't think you need worry about him getting a regular game. Our defence is appalling at the minute, which is why we're looking to draft some one in to fill the gaps. Bramble is a constant embarassment to the fans, and looks like he's never going to live up to the promise he showed years ago when we first bought him. Ramage, although a hard worker, just isn't cutting it- he may grow to be a decent, reliable defender one day, but he's not there yet, and honestly speaking he's never going to be a world beater. As for Moore, he's had a bit of bad luck with us, and not got into the swing of things because of injury, however when he has played he's looked fairly solid but partial to the odd stupid mistake. Another regular you didn't men tion is Steven Taylor, who, whilst only a youngster, looks like he's developing into a decent talent.

I admit to not knowing much about Gooch, other than what I've gleaned from a few stateside sports sites. I'd be interested to know your opinions on him, whether you think he can cut it in the premiership, and whether his age is a concern to be playing at the highest level?



Andrew said...

Just been confirmed that he's signed on loan 'til the end of the season :)

The Manly Ferry said...

Thanks for keeping us current, Andrew. It's appreciated.

As for Oguchi "Gooch" Onyewu as a player, I'll begin by admitting I've only seen him play on the U.S. national team; I've never seen him play club ball.

Based, however, on those few observations, I'd say Gooch is a bit raw as a defender - just a bit, but still raw. His main drawback is a modest penchant for fouling. In fairness to the player, though, he cites his considerable size, and the effect that has on opposition players, as a partial cause for this. For all that, he's very powerful, an entirely competent passer of the ball and, based on the eight or ten times I saw him, capable of recovering well enough when he screws up - which isn't all that often.

So, yeah, my limited direct observations tells me Newcastle did all right here.

Good luck with the rest of the season. I think I'll start watching the EPL again...if Fox Soccer ever shows me anything but Wigan Athletic games, that is.