World Soccer Draft: Mr. Irrelevant Edition

Alright, if you want to get technical, the Mr. Irrelevant of this year’s World Soccer Draft was Simon Kjaer. But it seems to us that even more inconsequential than Kjaer, who ended up starting for the squad that snapped him up, are the undrafted masses, the poor, the huddled, the ignored. Here’s a look at some notable names that for some reason didn’t make the cut, along with teams they might have been able to help.[1]

Goalkeepers:  Reina, Cech, de Gea, Adler, Akinfeev

Pepe Reina

Why was he left off? 

Likely Liverpool’s recent drop from the upper echelons of the league, as well as his perpetual backup status with Spain.

Who could he have helped?

Wes took the most guff for his goalkeeper pick, Julio Cesar,  even as the draft was going on, with several drafters saying Cesar was a mediocre keeper with one great season. Reina, by constrast, is a great keeper with a mediocre recent history that’s made us forget how good he can be. Liverpool gave up 44 goals in the league last season, despite having a defense that, unlike all the teams who allowed fewer than them, saw no players picked in the WSD.

Defenders: Ferdinand, Jagieka, Puyol, Abate, Agger, Mertesacker, Lucio


Why was he left off? 

Age, we’d imagine, and Inter’s somewhat turbulent season.

Who could he have helped? 

Josh. Our drafters agreed that being forced to deploy Kolarov at center back hurt his team.

Carles Puyol 

Why was he left off? 

Age and injuries, as far as I can tell. Puyol made only 17 league appearances this season, and bouncing back at age 33 is a tall order. But it’s not as though he has a bad injury history — that’s the most games he’s missed since 2000-01.

Who could he have helped? 

Neal. Recreating Barcelona’s back line in his Real Madrid-style squad seems quite a bit more formidable than the Pique-Hangeland tandem.

Midfielders:  Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt, Ashley Young, Mascherano, Khedira, Juan Mata, Thiago Motta, Robben, Ribery, Malouda,
Valencia, Gourcuff, Pizarro, Cambiasso, Honda, Arshavin, Giovinco

Javier Mascherano

Why wasn’t he chosen? 

Being second-choice at Barcelona didn’t seem to be good for anyone’s chances of getting drafted, except for Ibrahim Afellay.

Who could he have helped? 

Eric. Looks like I picked the wrong Barcelona backup. Mascherano, like Song, is a defensive midfielder who’s shown he’s got the ability to drop into the back line, but he’s probably better than the Cameroonian international.

Arjen Robben

Why wasn’t he picked? 

Does ‘The Glass Man’ ring any bells?

Who could he have helped? 

Fayyaz. Our drafters didn’t like playing Pastore so far from goal on the right side, but that’s a position Robben has thrived in, when he’s managed to be on the field.

Thiago Motta

Why wasn’t he picked? 

Motta was never someone who was going to go towards the top of the draft, but it does seem like someone could have picked him up as a useful backup late.

Who could he have helped? 

Adams. Asking Kevin-Prince Boateng to carry the defensive workload in central midfield on his own after a year of playing further forward for Milan was a stretch too far for some of our panel. Motta has enough two-way qualities to be useful as something other than a pure holding midfielder, but adds a bit more bite to that area.

Forwards –  Carroll, Bent, Soldado, Nilmar, Negredo, Llorente, Forlan, Robinho, Dzeko, Balotelli


Why wasn’t he chosen? 

Not all goals are created equal. Pato, who scored 14 goals for AC Milan in Serie A, was chosen 10th overall. Ibrahimovic, who scored 14 goals for AC Milan in Serie A, was chosen 109th overall. Robinho, who scored 14 goals for AC Milan in Serie A, wasn’t drafted.

Who could he have helped? 

Ogo, mostly because it’s funny to me to assign him to the guy who knows everything there is to know about his beloved AC Milan. Robinho would bring some experience to his front line — something they collectively lack — while fitting in stylistically.

Fernando Llorente 

Why wasn’t he chosen? 

Somehow, despite his ever-rising goal totals and being perpetually on the brink of a move to Real Madrid, Llorente still seems to be underrated. If he were English, someone would have paid, well, probably even more than £35 million for him.

Who could he have helped? 

Stefan. Rather than playing Rooney and Van Persie together, Llorente could have given him a different kind of option up front than the out-of-form Torres.


1. N.B. Those picks don’t necessarily address what we thought was each team’s weakest point, and obviously most of them probably wouldn’t help as much as snagging another player who had been drafted. They’re more like possibilities, alternate avenues that could have been considered.

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2 Responses to World Soccer Draft: Mr. Irrelevant Edition

  1. Ogo Sylla says:

    Haha it’s funny but as soon as I read Robinho I was “oh shit that’s someone who would’ve helped my lineup a lot instead of Neymar” lol Glad to know we were on same page for that one. Plus Robinho does more work off the ball and brings same qualities as Neymar with much more experience [as you correctly noted it]. The issue however is that Capello could no longer be my coach as he was never the Brazilian’s biggest fan lol

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