USMNT / World Cup

Eddie and Freddy in Greece?

Fulham have confirmed that Eddie Johnson is on loan to Aris FC until the end of the current season in June. Freddy Adu may transfer to Aris FC on a year and a half contract. So what is the story on Aris FC and why might this be a good place for both Adu and Johnson?

Aris FC is currently at 22 points in the Greek Super League, which places them in 6th place regardless of what you might find on ESPNsoccernet. They are tied on points with two other teams and are fighting for the fifth place spot which would give them a taste of Europa League action next season. There are seven forwards listed on their squad roster. However, Sebastian Abreu, an older quality forward from Uruguay, recently transferred to Botafogo in Brazil.

So what does Aris FC need? Aris FC needs to score more goals. They are averaging one goal a game this season and have not scored more than two goals in a game. This paucity of goals has seemingly led the management to hire a new coach, Hector Cuper, and add Eddie Johnson to the squad. Cuper has been at the club since the beginning of November 2009 and probably asked for help in the January transfer window.

Cuper already seems to have an established forward in Koke, a spanish player, who has made an appearance in each game this season. However, the second forwad position has been filled by Abreu, Campora, and Javito at various points. In addition Cuper and the previous coach have employed formations with 3 forwards this season. As previously mentioned, Abreu is gone.

Javier Campora is the leading goal scorer with 4 goals. He appears to be the main competition for Eddie Johnson and possibly Freddy Adu. Campora is an argentinian forward, who has previously spent time in Mexico. He is not a prolific goalscorer but has had a few strong seasons in his career. In addition at age 29 he is probably in his prime.

Javito is a young spanish forward and winger who played on the Barcelona youth and reserve teams. He has played up top and as a winger. He may be Freddy Adu’s main competition as they both appear to be similar creative players.

The other forwards include Stavros Lambriakos, who is 34 and appears to be an experienced back-up and nothing more. Hristos Arvidis hasn’t made any appearances this season and seems to be a young future prospect. Finally, Ian Daly is a 19 year old Irish striker, who spent time at Manchester City. He has made a few appearances, but doesn’t seem to be that much of a threat.

Based on this forward stable, I would think that Eddie Johnson could step right in and start. If he doesn’t, then I would expect him to be the third striker off the bench. If Freddy Adu does come to Aris, then he would probably not start. However, Freddy might start in a 3 forward formation or come on as a substitute. He might also be used as a winger or as a playmaking attacking midfielder. I feel that he would definitely get the chance to prove himself and earn a starting spot in the future.

This seems like a good move for Eddie Johnson, but possibly not a good move for Freddy Adu. He needs to go to a club where he can expect to start right away. I think he would have that chance in MLS or a smaller eastern European league like those in Croatia, Bulgaria, Poland, or Romania. Of course a move to Greece seems pretty decent considering his options. Aris FC probably can afford to pay more money than some of the other smaller Balkan and Eastern European leagues.

As for the club itself, its colors are those of the former Byzantine Empire and it is located in Thessaloniki, which is a great little city in northern Greece. It is part of the greater Macedonian/Thracian area. It shares a similar cultural heritage to the small town in southern Bulgaria that I lived in for 2 years. I love the area, and I hope that both Eddie Johnson and Freddy Adu find success there.

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