Bradley likely to stay at Heerenveen this season

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U.S. international midfielder Michael Bradley, who currently plays his club football for SC Heerenveen in Holland, has recently had his name tossed around by two clubs that most would consider a step up for the Princeton, N.J., native.

English Premier League side Middlesbrough and Hamburger SV of the Bundesliga have apparently expressed interest in Bradley, who tied for the lead in scoring for Heerenveen last season with 15 league goals.

According to sources in Holland, however, Bradley will most likely be staying with Heerenveen as the club considers the 21-year old to be an important player in its first-team plans for the upcoming season, where it hopes to improve on its fifth-place finish from last year. A free-scoring team that ranked second in goals scored would surely miss Bradley's impressive contributions and it's obvious it would like to keep the talented player around.

Middlesbrough, whose interest in the player was thought to have waned, may be back in the running after its attempts to sign James Harper from Reading have stalled. Attacking options will be vital at the Riverside if Liverpool decides to renew its pursuit of arguably Boro's best player, winger Stuart Downing. Downing's shoes would be large ones to fill, but Bradley could be an adequate replacement for the England international.

Before playing in Holland, Bradley played for the N.Y./N.J. Metrostars -- now the Red Bulls -- where he became the youngest MLS player ever to be sold when he joined Heerenveen for an undisclosed fee in 2006. Bradley has made 55 appearances since joining Heerenveen and has netted 15 goals.