Now that impending free agent Fabian Johnson is reportedly in discussions with multiple MLS teams, all observers have two ways to break down the potential landing spots for the former US men’s national team player.
I’ll leave it to others to work on figuring out which teams are actually, factually in current TAM-level discussions with the the longtime Borussia Monchengladbach wide player. Instead, I’d rather kick around a list of clubs that would provide Johnson with the best fit, and vice versa. Johnson would have to be acquired through the allocation process.
Considering Johnson’s versatility and skillset, the location of his ideal station is quite debatable. Because of injuries and falling out of favor (probably in equal measure, to be fair), it’s also unclear whether the 32-year-old can still produce the quality he regularly displayed as a USMNT regular a few years ago. What is certain is the version of Johnson stateside fans remember best would make a handy addition for any club with designs on raising their game.
Chicago Fire FC
Honestly, given a particular circumstance, new boss Raphael Wicky could find important work for Johnson at any of the four wide positions in his 4-1-4-1 set. He could definitely take left wing to let Djordje Mihailovic operate from the middle. As it may also be worth noting in a couple other cases below, Johnson does have family from the upper Midwest region. An issue for the Fire is they are ninth on the allocation list.
There are a handful of simple reasons to believe this dog might actually hunt in the end. The Orange and Blue, who’ve lost 24 of their 36 MLS games to date, have reportedly been chasing Johnson for a long while now. They could use a flank boost, perhaps most of all on right wing. Quite conveniently, they are currently second on the allocation list.
The Galaxy are well-covered in the wide back slots, so that’s not really an issue. On the other hand, their wing stable is one light with the departure of Aleksandar Katai. We all know how much the Galaxy love suiting up big name internationals, and adding Johnson does make some sense. If fit and on form, a player of his capabilities would aid their transition to a more team-oriented attack (read: switching from Zlatan to Chicharito up top). One sizable obstacle, though: They currently stand 18th on the allocation list.
This is my curveball pick. They don’t necessarily need him. Like the Galaxy, they have a big leap from their allocation list slot (17th). And yet, the idea of giving Adrian Heath a seasoned left winger who can create chances on the run is just so appetizing. Johnson’s inside-out attack paths can provide a contrast to Ethan Finlay’s more cross-based approach on the right. Robin Lod could slide into the middle, where he’s better suited. Johnson would also provide cover at all other flank spots.