U.S. U20 midfielder Szetela in discussions with Roma
NEW YORK -- U.S. under-20 and Columbus Crew midfielder Danny Szetela is in discussions with AS Roma about possibly transferring to the Italian club after the Major League Soccer season when his contract expires.
Agent Shep Messing denied a report in a New York area newspaper Tuesday that said Szetela had reached an agreement with the Serie A club.
"We're in discussions with Roma, but nothing's agreed," Messing said. "We're also in discussions with MLS. I don't know where they're connecting the dots."
Szetela would be the third member of the U.S. U20 World Cup team to transfer to Europe, joining Freddy Adu who signed with Portugal's Benfica from Real Salt Lake last week, and Sal Zizzo, who left UCLA to join Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga.
Messing, the former New York Cosmos goalkeeper who serves as an analyst on New York Red Bulls television broadcasts, said he also has had discussions with several other teams regarding Szetela, including Turkey's Galatasaray, Parma and Siena in Italy, Everton in England, Germany's Hertha Berlin, Switzerland's Sion FC, and Glasgow's Rangers.
"From what I'm told, I should also expect one soon from Lazio," Messing said.
Szetela signed with MLS in 2004 at 17, choosing to stay in the United States rather than accept offers from overseas, most notably from Everton. He knew he would be placed in a weighted lottery among MLS teams, but at the time expected to end up on the MetroStars, his hometown club that was renamed the New York Red Bulls last year.
Instead he landed on the Crew, where -- due to a series of injuries -- he has played only 31 games over roughly three seasons. He scored three goals at the U20 World Cup in Canada last month to help the United States to the quarterfinals and attract the attention of European scouts.
"He's been miserable the last two years, but now the Crew is playing well and he specifically didn't want to go now," Messing said. "If the league comes in with something that knocks our socks off, he'll consider it. I think he should go. I think it would be a good atmosphere for him."