World Cup qualifiers are still in swing but that didn’t delay several new signings that directly and indirectly affected some Americans in Europe.Lichaj to Forest
Championship side Nottingham Forest has signed former Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj to a two-year contract. The 24-year-old played 32 times in the Premier League last season and has seen some time in the Championship as he played 16 times for Leeds United during the 2010-11 campaign. Forest finished eighth last season and will be looking to qualify for the top flight this season.
Spector staying with Birmingham
Former U.S. international and West Ham man Jonathan Spector has signed a new two-year deal with Birmingham City. The defender has spent the last two seasons with the Championship side, making over 60 appearances during that time. The 27-year-old previously played five years with West Ham United where he made over 100 Premier League appearances.
Williams moves to the Championship
U.S. international Danny Williams has been transferred from Bundesliga side TSG Hoffenheim to Reading. The Championship club has reportedly signed the midfielder through 2017. Williams has spent the better part of the last two seasons with Hoffenheim, making over 45 appearances while scoring one goal. The 24-year-old will try and help the recently-relegated club back to the top flight.
Villa brings in defensive help
Aston Villa has completed the signing of 22-year-old Spanish defender Antonio Luna. The left back comes from Sevilla and will join Denmark international defender Jores Okre as two high profile Villain signings this offseason. The Birmingham outfit is clearly trying to improve defensively, an area in which it struggled mightily last season. U.S. international Brad Guzan will hope to reap the benefits in goal next season.
Everton looking for new backup GK
New Everton boss Roberto Martinez is looking for a new backup to put pressure on Tim Howard after the release of Jan Mucha earlier this month. Howard was spotty early on last season and former manager David Moyes hinted that the 34-year-old keeper could use some pressure to increase efficiency. Howard responded with a strong second half and has been solid for the U.S. during World Cup qualifiers. He also stated publicly that he is training harder than ever in order to maintain his effectiveness. The Merseyside club has also rejected a hefty bid from Manchester United for star left back Leighton Baines, as the team insists that he is not for sale.
Bocanegra leaves Rangers
Rangers have officially terminated Carlos Bocanegra’s contract. Both Rangers and Bocanegra mutually agreed to part ways, making Bocanegra a free agent. He spent last season on loan with Spanish second division club Racing Santander, which was relegated to the third division.
Stoke signs Pieters
Stoke City has signed former PSV defender Erik Pieters to a four-year deal. Pieters should join Geoff Cameron in the Stoke defense. Both players are quite versatile and can attack when needed.
Cherundolo has more injury troubles
U.S. international and Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo has had an injury setback and will require additional surgery to repair his knee. The “Mayor of Hannover” is signed with the Bundesliga club through the 2013-14 season and is scheduled to miss about two months.