Could Arsene Wenger soon have a hint of American Apple Pie to add to his international menu of talent? Only he really knows but it was interesting to see Brek Shea, the blond-coiffed American, practising with Arsenal for the month, and training amongst the first teams ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Borussia Dortmund.
In the pictures, released on the club website Tuesday (unfortunately they are no longer available, at least to those of us without Arsenal Player) you can see the U.S. International talking with Francis Coquelin, who, along with Ju-Young Park, were the only three players training who were not in the squad Wednesday.
Perhaps, there’s not too much in this but given Wenger’s desire for the team’s complete focus with minimal distraction it’s doubtful The Boss would include someone in such an important training session that he didn’t rate somewhat. Furthermore, Wenger recently said both the United States and Asia would figure prominently in the future of the worldwide game.
Unfortunately widespread opinion of the Texas-born striker is limited to online videos and the U.S. squad’s recent friendly against France. Shea didn’t offer much in the game looking overwhelmed when he did get the ball. In his defence, France did dominate possession and a lot of their attacking verve was through Franck Ribery on the opposite side of the pitch.
What seems to be impressive about Shea, however, is his physical appearance. He looks quite similar to Marouane Chamakh in stature and judging by the YouTube clips he does have pace, a promising left foot, a capable right foot and some interesting ingenuity. Perhaps Wenger has found something he can latch onto and mould into something more?
Furthermore, he could probably be had at a relatively cheap price. For comparisons, he is currently two years younger than Clint Dempsey was when he was signed by Fulham for $4 million (I presume U.S. dollars). However, Dempsey was a little more accomplished scoring 25 goals in 71 appearances versus Shea’s 16 in 77. Given this, you’d have to figure Shea could be have for a similar price.
What he would also add is some marketability in the States. In some senses, it is a mature market in regards to football following as most people who follow the game have someone older who supports whatever club they did as a youngster (this is evidenced by the many clubs who do a U.S. Tour and the following they receive). But it is a massive market (third largest population in the world) with lots of potential and given our American ownership, Shea’s looks, and seeming charisma (he is also an artist) perhaps there is something a brewing at London Colney.