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Jan. 29, 2007

Arena pursuing Beasley; O’Brien could be invited to Red Bulls training camp


Red Bulls coach and sporting director Bruce Arena would love to have DaMarcus Beasley running down the wing for his team.
Red Bulls coach and sporting director Bruce Arena would love to have DaMarcus Beasley running down the wing for his team.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis and Dylan Butler Editors

Bruce Arena apparently isn't finished trying to lure former or current U.S. National Team players to the Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls sporting director and coach is said to be heavily pursuing U.S. international winger DaMarcus Beasley, according to league-wide sources. There also is a possibility that U.S. National Team midfielder John O'Brien could be invited to pre-season camp, sources said.

Both players performed for Arena in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

Last week former U.S. National Team captain and midfielder Claudio Reyna signed with the MLS team. Reyna played for Arena at the University of Virginia and with the national side.

Beasley, 24, on loan to Manchester City from PSV Eindhoven, is said to be unhappy with the English Premiership club, although he has gotten more playing time recently.

The 5-7, 126-lb. Beasley would give the Bulls blinding speed either in the midfield or up front and arguably the two fastest players in the league. Speedy second-year pro Marvell Wynne plays right fullback.

Beasley also is considered a superb two-way player with outstanding defensive skills.

Arena and Beasley had some disagreements during the World Cup in Germany. Beasley said he was disappointed with his role in the 3-0 opening loss to the Czech Republic and Arena criticized his play. Arena responded, essentially saying that Beasley should take a look at himself in the mirror. Several days later Arena said that he hadn't had a problem with Beasley.

Nicknamed "Jitterbug," Beasley previously played in MLS with the Chicago Fire before he transferred to PSV in July, 2004 for a $2.5 million fee.

O'Brien, 29, has been plagued by leg injuries throughout his career. He had patellar tendonitis since June. When healthy, he arguably has been considered the best American midfielder. He played only five minutes in one game with Chivas USA last season -- against the Los Angeles Galaxy April 15.

Arena took a gamble and named the oft-injured, but talented O’Brien to last year's World Cup roster. He came on as a second-half sub in the loss to the Czech Republic, but was injured and did not play again.

The 5-9, 155-lb. O'Brien, released by Chivas in December, has been invited to the west coach team's training camp, but cannot sign with another MLS club unless his rights are acquired in a trade.

But it certainly wouldn't cost the Red Bulls much to see how healthy O'Brien was in training camp. The Red Bulls will train in Bradenton and Orlando, Fla. from Feb. 2-19.

Blessed with skill, patience and vision, O'Brien played a dozen years in the Netherlands -- for Ajax, Utrecht and ADO Den Haag -- before returning to the states and signing with Chivas in 2006. He played a vital role in the U.S.'s quarterfinal finish at the 2002 World Cup.

Arena could not be reached for comment. He has made it a policy not to talk about players under contract with other clubs.

If Beasley signs with Bulls, he would be the third player with City background to join the club. Reyna agreed a multi-year deal with the club and Reyna's former City teammate, ex-Dutch international goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus signed with the club Monday.
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