To the shock of many, Ryan Shawcross has agreed to swap Stoke-on-Trent for Miami as he moves to David Beckham’s new outfit.
The 33-year-old has made over 400 appearances for the Potters but he will now join Inter Miami ahead of the new MLS season, which starts in April.
Beckham’s venture was derided by some when he first announced his audacious plans across the Atlantic.
However, the England legend’s reputation and profile – as well as his contacts within the game – have helped him to land a number of big-name additions.
Phil Neville left his job managing England Lionesses to take the reins, while Inter have also bagged Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi.
They missed out on Mesut Ozil, who instead opted for Fenerbahce, but the biggest test of their allure is yet to come. Can they possibly tempt Lionel Messi from Barcelona this summer?
The Argentine is out of contract and is widely expected to leave Camp Nou. Manchester City and PSG have both been heavily linked with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, but reports have previously hinted he would prefer to bring up his young family in America.
That would be the coup of all coups. One leash being placed on Beckham is the Designated Player Rule – MLS clubs can have three players outside of their salary cap, so he can’t go too crazy with luxurious additions.
That said, Inter have already been linked with so many players of note that within a year or two, they could conceivably have quite a whacky first XI.
GK – Sergio Romero
Per The Athletic, Beckham is keen to look to his former employers Manchester United to try and bring in back-up stopper Sergio Romero. The Argentine wants to leave Old Trafford with Dean Henderson usurping him as second choice.
RB – Antonio Valencia
Valencia was linked with Inter Miami in the summer and currently plays for Liga MX club Querétaro. A move up to MLS would be very tempting for the winger turned right-back.
CB – Ryan Shawcross
Shawcross is the latest addition and a surprising one, too. The Stoke centre-back did begin his career at United, which is how the Beckham link may have transpired.
CB – Leandro González Pirez
One of Inter Miami’s current centre-back options, Pirez played for Argentina at youth level and has scored two goals for the club so far.
LB – Kieran Gibbs
According to The Athletic, West Brom are happy to let former Arsenal full-back Gibbs leave as he is one of their highest earners and he has emerged as a target.
CM – Sergio Busquets
Busquets, like so many of that once great Barcelona team, is not the player he was. Frenkie de Jong has already been brought in as his long-term successor and the Spain international has been linked with Inter Miami previously.
MF – Blaise Matuidi
A World Cup winner and a four-time Ligue 1 champion with PSG. Matuidi also won three Serie A titles with Juventus, but he’s now 33 and winding down his career.
MF – Wil Trapp
Trapp, 28, has drawn praise from the likes of Thierry Henry and has made 20 appearances for the USA national team.
FW – Theo Walcott
James Rodriguez is another Evertonian on Inter’s radar, rumour has it, but Walcott has been spoken about in the corridors of power in Miami – that’s according to Bleacher Report.
CAM – Lionel Messi
Messi would be following in the footsteps of Pele if he were to head to America, but he’d also join a pretty impressive pantheon of modern greats too – Wayne Rooney, Henry, Frank Lampard, Patrick Vieira, Zlatan Ibrahimovic… Messi would be MLS’ biggest trump card yet.
ST – Gonzalo Higuain
Higuain didn’t cost a penny as he left Juventus on a free transfer. With over 300 club goals, MLS could be the perfect playground for a striker who is no longer among the world’s best, but is still a lethal force in the box.
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