Aston Villa’s enigmatic Scottish forward is back in Birmingham. Or is he still in Melbourne? Or is he on the move? What is up with Ross McCormack’s situation?
Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack’s fruitful loan spell with Melbourne City was said to have ended this Friday, the 27th. We have not heard anything since after a whopping 14 goals in 17 appearances in the Australian A-League.
So, what precisely is the plan for the 31-year old?- whose contract does not expire until July 2020.
Is he on the move again?
Leeds United, McCormack’s former club, are labeled “favorites” for the forward’s signature. SkyBet has them on 2/1 odds, for what it is worth. However, the same piece explains Leeds have exhausted through their entire transfer budget. Couple high wages with another transfer sum, and it is reasonable to suggest McCormack is out of their comfort zone. While he is eligible for movement to Leeds, he would not be eligible to play until August 2018, under FIFA Article 5.3
Is a return to Melbourne possible? I suppose, but one would think that if it was going to work out, the two clubs would have come to an agreement already. I mean, they had all of October, November, December, and most of January to extend McCormack’s loan.
I do not know if it is wages or Aston Villa holding out for further demands, but I think it unlikely Ross returns to Australia.
As for another club in England? Nope, probably will not happen, by virtue of a FIFA statute. Nottingham Forest will not be calling back this January as they had been last year. Therefore, Major League Soccer remains one of the few remaining, realistic options. As our resident American, I noted McCormack’s ball-playing, highly technical game fits well in MLS. Unlike Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and a host of others, McCormack maintains the athleticism needs to thrive on turf and grass.
But it takes two to tangle and a club with an extra Designated Player opening coupled with winning ambitions (far too often missing among some MLS owners) is needed.
The likeliest scenario
The Micah Richards path (sort of).
It is clear Steve Bruce is likely not going to utilize Ross McCormack in the promotion push. Their falling out last season was too demeaning – too far gone for both sides to ever come back amicably. Bruce gave the forward ample opportunities to impress in pre-season, too. Instead, Bruce went with different options in Scott Hogan, the rushed-back Jonathan Kodjia, and 19-year old Keinan Davis, and RHM before serious muscle injury.
He did, however, make two quick substitute appearances in the league cup. Perhaps his role is destined to fight for a bench spot with 18 matches to go…