McBride to opt for US return
By Chris Bergin (usscocceruk.com)
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
EVERTON loan-star Brian McBride will opt to return to the Columbus Crew, despite the Premiership club's attempts to keep the player in England, according to the MLS deputy commisioner Ivan Gazidis.
The 29-year-old may well now bid farewell to Everton after this weekend's match against current Premiership leaders and defending champions Arsenal at Highbury.
The World Cup forward scored four goals in his first six outings with Everton, and despite failing to register in his limited time in their last three matches, his success on Merseyside has made him an instant hit with the Blues fans, who have seen their club chase a berth in Europe next season.
However, his wish to help guide Columbus to an MLS championship has proved to be his main priority and the over-riding factor in the collapse of any permanent move to England, or even a loan extension to the end of the current Premiership season.
Everton boss David Moyes has tried frantically to secure a deal with the MLS - who hold all their league's player contracts - but McBride apparently favours a return.
"I think Brian has been very appreciative of the opportunity to play in the EPL under a coach, David Moyes, for whom he has a tremendous amount of respect," noted MLS Deputy Commisioner Ivan Gazidis.
"Everton approached us a few days ago to see whether there existed the possibility of acquiring Brian's services permanently."
While rumours circulated that MLS were pricing McBride out of Everton's financial capability, the correct asking price was only set at £1 million, as the league effectively allowed their player the opportunity to continue his career in England following seven years of loyal service in the US top-flight.
However, it was McBride himself that noted to MLS that he would be more than happy to return to America, where he was committed to winning a championship with the Crew.
"We spoke to Brian, and while Brian is open-minded about the move to England, he has expressed to us how happy he is in Columbus with the Crew and how committed he is to trying to win an MLS Cup in 2003," added Gazidis.
"Brian certainly has in no way been applying pressure to MLS to accommodate a move to England.
"Against that background, we set a very fair and realistic transfer fee, in recognition of all that Brian has done for MLS since our inception.
"We have kept Brian informed every step of the way, and he is extremely satisfied with how things have been progressing.
"Given the current international situation, I think it is Brian's wish to come back to the United States sooner rather than later.
"Therefore, talk of a transfer is probably moot."
MLS have managed to bring three European-based US internationals back 'home' for the upcoming season, with former Everton striker Joe-Max Moore returning to his previous MLS club New England.
Dutch based midfielder Earnie Stewart and fellow World Cup squad member Frankie Hejduk also followed suit, joining DC United and Columbus Crew respectively, adding to the continued rise in status of MLS.