CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 02: Is Courtois the start of a French connection for Chivas USA? (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
As reported yesterday in my article on Chivas USA's victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the reserve league, French midfielder Nicolas Dieuze played in the match and is presumably on trial with Chivas USA. The 32-year old last played at Grenoble, the former club of Chivas midfielder Laurent Courtois, and according to their twitter profiles, both run and/or invest in an online classified ad website. And according to Scott French over at ESPN, Dieuze was a former teammate of Chivas Assistant Coach Greg Vanney. He has spent his entire professional career in France, playing mostly for Toulouse, where he apparently captained the squad for a spell. He has also played at Bastia, Le Havre, and Grenoble, with all but the latter club being in Ligue 1, the highest league in France. With Grenoble effectively defunct in professional football terms for economic trouble, the remaining players are all available on free transfers, making them attractive options to thrifty teams like Chivas.
Continued after the jumpDespite being on trial with Chivas, it does not necessarily mean that Dieuze will be signed as soon as the signing period opens up again. He was also considered in the spring, and no signing took place at the time, so Chivas could be taking their time mulling over their options.
This is a team of polarized ages, with a cadre of very young players in their teens and early 20s, and a group of players well into their 30s. It's no coincidence that some of the key players this season, like Dan Kennedy, Heath Pearce, and Nick LaBrocca, fall between the extremes. By signing a player who would be 33 at the start of next season in Dieuze, Chivas would get some good experience and certainly a good value, but it isn't necessarily a no-brainer. Certainly, the fact that Dieuze has not signed with a club so far means that he probably isn't highly coveted in Europe, which is concerning. But there are a lot of players globally who fall between the cracks for one reason or another, and having the personal connections to Courtois and Vanney may help an agreement come together for all parties eventually.
Despite the personal connections, there are other interested clubs, and according to this website on soccer in New England, Dieuze also played in the reserve match for the New England Revolution at the beginning of the week against the Columbus Crew. Looks like the guy is racking up some frequent flyer miles with trips between the coasts. I don't know if the Revs are still considering their options with Dieuze or if they have decided to pass. Either way, it would be interesting to see a "bidding war," if you could call it that, between two of the most frugal clubs in MLS.
Just a final link on this possibly developing story. Frank Dell'Apa reports that Dieuze and other French players may be getting steered to MLS at least in part because of the influence of Agent Jerome Meary. I'm not sure if Courtois is a client of Meary, but based on this blurb, it would not be a surprise. So it may be wise to brush up on your French in the coming years if Meary gets his wish.