In what was described by San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop as a "dead deal" two weeks ago, the reported move to MLS of Tottenham Hotspur forward John Bostock was merely speculative. The former English youth international was officially loaned to League One side Sheffield Wednesday late yesterday in a deal that will last through the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
Meanwhile, the options available to Spurs midfielder Simon Dawkins dwindled significantly with the closing of the January transfer window in the UK. The dynamic 23-year old had a fine debut season on loan with San Jose in 2011, and had returned to England in November in hopes of moving his way into the Tottenham senior squad. Dawkins did well in a number of reserve league matches for Spurs, but has yet to feature first team.
A trial with Dutch team FC Twente that would have seen Dawkins loaned out for the remainder of their season was scuttled early last week, opening the door for the young Englishman to find regular playing time elsewhere. Because MLS does not adhere to the strict guidelines set forth by the European transfer window — transfers to MLS can continue until April 15 — Dawkins is still eligible to be loaned, or even sold, to the San Jose Earthquakes. The contract rights to the midfielder were protected in last November’s expansion draft, and the Earthquakes have said repeatedly that they would welcome him back to San Jose for another season.
While Dawkins was a mainstay in the Earthquakes line-up to close out the season, his impact on the success of the team was measured. Finishing the season with six goals — tied for second best on the team behind Chris Wondolowski’s 16 goals — Dawkins left a good impression on the Earthquakes fan-base with a two goal man-of-the-match effort against season ending opponent FC Dallas. Taking into account that Dallas was playing a reserve line-up that Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium, and the Dawkins performance loses some luster in comparison with his season-long results.
For the Earthquakes to bring back Dawkins, the deal must make sense for Yallop and general manager John Doyle in light of the salary constraints under which they operate. Should Dawkins be pursued by San Jose? Absolutely — but certainly not at as high a transfer fee or loan deal salary as has been rumored. The Earthquakes have brought in some new signings, trialists, and draft picks that could make bringing Dawkins back to San Jose more a luxury than a necessity. With just under six weeks until the 2012 regular season opener on March 10, and two-and-a-half months until the MLS transfer window closes, the Earthquakes should proceed with caution and not rush to make a move on Dawkins until the right deal presents itself.