Former Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz is the latest European-based player to be linked to a move to MLS this summer.
Santa Cruz’s father and agent recently revealed while speaking on Paraguayan radio that there was long-time interest in his son from one MLS club in particular, dating back to last season, and that they were considering options at this point, despite a preference to remain with current team Malaga.
While the club in question was not revealed, most believe it to be the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have already signed one player from the Spanish side this year, playmaker Pedro Morales, and are now on the lookout for a star striker, having terminated the contract of Designated Player Kenny Miller in May.
A stalwart of European football for the past 15 years, Santa Cruz signed for Bayern Munich from local club Olimpia in 1999, going on to play seven seasons for the Bundesliga giants before his departure to Blackburn in July 2007.
After a successful first Premier League campaign, consisting of 19 goals in 37 games, the 32-year-old would struggle to find the back of the net the following season, before joining up with old boss Mark Hughes at Manchester City in June 2009 for £17.5 million.
Santa Cruz would play just 24 games for the club over the course of his four-year contract however, with season-long loans at former side Blackburn, Real Betis and Malaga themselves meaning he would in fact spend very little time in Manchester.
Signing for Malaga on a permanent deal last summer, the tall frontman is coming off a campaign in which he scored five goals in 25 apparrances to help the La Liga outfit stave off relegation, with two years left to run on his current deal.
It remains to be seen how much a club would have to fork over for Santa Cruz’s services but, given how ambitious MLS has been in recent months when it comes Designated Player signings, the figures likely won’t prove too much of a stumbling block if the interest is mutual.
The Paraguay international may not be a considerable star or anywhere close to his prime but, as a former Premier League regular and veteran of three World Cups, his addition would still prove a significant one for the league should he arrive.
Whether you could expect a major goal tally from the 99-times capped Santa Cruz is up for debate, though Vancouver certainly have the creative midfielders at their disposal to provide him service if they are the club interested, including former teammate Morales, who is proving a real star in the States thus far.