Could Michael Bradley head back to Italy? AC Milan and Bologna are showing interest.
Michael Bradley has now played nearly three seasons in Toronto, which he has guided back to the upcoming MLS playoffs. But Bradley, a former AS Roma and Chievo Verona player, is also drawing interest from clubs back in Italy.
Sources say that Bologna wants to bring Bradley in for an off-season loan in January. Former MLS’er Roberto Donadoni is the manager of Bologna, which also happens to be owned by Joey Saputo–the owner of Toronto FC rival Montreal. A source also says that AC Milan is looking into the possibility of buying Bradley from Toronto. Then there’s Swansea City, which just hired Bradley’s father, Bob, this week. I’m told it’s likely that Swansea will be targeting some U.S. players in January.
Of course, a move would require there to be interest from the 29-year-old Bradley and Toronto as well. A Toronto source said the club was contacted for all three of the team’s Designated Players—Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore—during the last window. TFC and Bradley are focused entirely on winning an MLS Cup championship, the source said.
Elsewhere in the soccer world:
FIFA president Gianni Infantino came out last week with a new proposal to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams for 2026. In Infantino’s plan, there would be a one-game playoff for 32 of the 48 teams that before the group stage would start with the traditional 32 countries.
As a result, there would be 80 total games instead of the current 64. The final decision will be made in January.
A FIFA Council source says the biggest concern is that 16 teams would only get to play one game at the World Cup and wonders if fans from those countries will risk traveling around the world for just one game. There are also concerns about how European clubs might react and how host countries might logistically handle 48 teams.
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani came out in support of an expanded World Cup this week, telling the AP: "There are traditionalists in the game who I think, if it was up to them, would still have a 16-team World Cup. The reality is that the World Cup is not just an economic beast, but a product that inspires hope for countries. So if we can improve it, make it bigger without losing its romanticism, why not?"