U.S. midfield star Michael Bradley would be making a huge mistake if he were to return to where it all began. The MLS is a growing league, but Bradley himself is light-years ahead thanks to the skills and mindset he has developed abroad.
The American has a brilliant possession game — passing, controlling and shooting when the time is right. He knows how to play under pressure and create it, and most importantly, he knows how to set up his teammates. In addition, the 26-year-old needs to keep playing in a top-tier league such as the Serie A to further develop his skills ahead of this upcoming summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
However, Bradley has not been getting as much playing time as he would have hoped for in Italy for AS Roma. He arrived here in July of 2012 with the hopes starting in every game and becoming known as one of the very best U.S. midfielders in the international game today. He has the latter down pat, but the former seems almost impossible as he has only started in 11 of 17 league games, with five of them being starts.
Basically, head coach Rudi Garcia sees others fit to start ahead of him. Therefore, Bradley has a lot to think about, such as playing for a team where he will get significant playing time. In fact, he should be starting and finishing every single game, as he certainly does have what it takes to succeed.
Now, we can finally take a look at why he should not join MLS. The fact that his name is even being mentioned with Toronto FC is preposterous. He left to join the Dutch Eredivisie, then hit the Bundesliga, then danced in the Premier League and now he orchestrates the midfield in the Serie A. Basically, he grows more and more mature at each team he joins. If he returns to the states, his performance will not grow, but stall.
It is expected to be easy for him to notch assists and score some pretty goals here as he has knowledge that most lack in North America. He would be a great addition to the club, but he will not be benefiting himself by any means.
Bradley should stay in Europe, but join a club on loan or in a permanent transfer. Playing in Greece, Turkey or Russia would still heighten his skills, but it would be safer to stay in Italy, return to Germany or England. He could also try another top league in France. Basically, the young midfielder has plenty of options, but MLS should not be one of them if he wants to grow as a player.