Villa’s Stephen Ireland bound for New York

For months now it is no secret that former Chelsea and German star, Michael Ballack has seen his future in the MLS but according to agent Ballack’s agent Michael Becker one club who has made it clear that he won’t be playing for them is the New York Red Bulls.

Why would the struggling Bulls – only one goal in their opening games – not want such a majestic player as Ballack one might ask ? The answer from agent Becker is that he knows that Bulls General Manager, Erik Soler , has set his sights on luring Aston Villa and ex-Republic of Ireland star, Stephen Ireland to the MLS.

Becker told that he could not understand Soler’s reasons, adding: “”Michael would love to play in New York. However, it seems that Soler already made massive promises to Stephen Ireland in October. This is an unbelievable incident,” Becker told

“There are a lot of places where Michael believes he would be a good fit, but in New York with Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, that’s a title-winning team in his mind.”

Ballack is believed to be seen by many U.S managers as more of a holding midfielder whilst the Bulls clearly are looking for someone who can create scoring chances for the likes of Thierry Henry. Holding midfielder? Becker finds that view “offensive”.

“Ask Erik Soler why he thinks Ballack is a central defender or just a holding midfielder. It’s a pretty exclusive point of view,” Becker said.

“Why would you go for a no-name player who no one knows, who hasn’t started in months, when Michael Ballack is available?”

Of course Ireland is also ten years younger and no doubt Soler believes he would be around for much longer than Ballack.

Villa meantime will no doubt be holding out to recoup the 8 million they paid for Stephen who has only recently suggested that he might be interested in player for his country again. And indeed the saving of some 70,000 sterling a week might no doubt be another good reason why Villa might agree to a transfer on or close to their terms. Villa fan forums have mixed views – there are as many who would like him to stay as want him to go. This Stephen Ireland saga is likely to ‘run and run’.

Ballack meantime one feel sure will indeed be in the MLS League as Becker made clear to

“July 16 [the day the MLS teams can sign players from abroad] is around the corner,” Becker said. “I’m sure you’ll see Michael playing somewhere in MLS at that stage.” Among those who have shown some interest it is believed are teams in Chicago, Montreal and Phildelphia


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