Three Americans — Maurice Edu, Carlos Bocanegra and Alejandro Bedoya — play at one of Britain's biggest and most famous soccer clubs. But each faces an uncertain future, as Rangers FC is in the midst of a crisis of epic proportions.
The historic club, located in Glasgow, Scotland, is bankrupt, ownerless and in limbo. In March, administrators signed agreements with the playing squad that they take temporary pay cuts (some as much as 75 percent of their original salary). In return, players who want to leave the club (at steep discounts) will be allowed to do so starting on June 1. Five days later (June 6), creditors will decide whether the club can continue in its current form, or if it must liquidate and form a new company under its current shell.
The implications are far-reaching. Rangers has already been slapped with a 12-month transfer embargo due to past financial irregularities. It is unable to sign players over 18-years-old until next summer. It has also been disqualified from lucrative continental competitions like the UEFA Champions League for at least one year. Depending on what happens on June 6, that ban could be stretched to three years.
The American trio stayed with Rangers during the difficult last two months of the season. Now is the time for each to decide his immediate future. Edu didn't speak about his own situation, but Sky Sports reports he told Daily Star that he hopes Bedoya and Bocanegra will stick around.
"Carlos has been a rock for us," Edu said. "He has to be right up there as one of our players of the season. Carlos talked to me before he came but having played in England he knew all about Rangers because they are a massive club. It's a real family club and he feels part of it. I would see no reason why he wouldn't be excited to stay."
"Alejandro didn't play as often as he would have liked but I'm sure next season he will take his chance."
Bocanegra signed a three-year deal with Rangers in August 2011. The 32-year-old has been a consistent starter (playing 34 games) under manager Ally McCoist. That is unlikely to change in the next 12 months, but Bocanegra could be looking for another chance to test himself in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League. He could also have his agent survey the transfer market with hopes of securing one last payday before he winds down on his impressive career.
Bedoya, 25, had trouble cracking into the starting 11. He made only 13 appearances in his first season at the club, but it's likely that he'll see more playing time next season. Depending on which of his teammates leave the club, Bedoya could become a first-team regular. The chance to compete for a Scottish Premier League title (assuming Rangers remain in the top-flight) could be attractive to the former Boston College star, who has another two years remaining on his contract.
Edu has played for Rangers since his 2008 move from Toronto FC. He's been a regular feature in the midfield for the last two seasons, and his performances have attracted the attention of clubs in England, France and possibly elsewhere. FC Sochaux tried to bring him to Ligue 1 (France) in January, but Rangers declined the transfer offer. The 26-year-old could also be ready to join a club that participates in the UEFA Champions League on an annual basis. His contract expires after next season, making him the most likely to switch clubs (considering the demand that already exists).
The coming weeks will be pivotal in the future of Rangers FC, its American trio and the U.S. national team. There's a slim chance Bocanegra, Bedoya and Edu will suit up for Rangers next season, but it depends on the decisions each individual makes about his own career path.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/tcbuzz