The former MetroStars keeper is said to have held serious talks over a return to MLS.
Speculation linking Tim Howard with a return to MLS has been gathering pace over the past fortnight, and Pro Soccer Talk’s latest report on the Everton goalkeeper’s future is sure to add more fuel to the fire.
ESPN FC first claimed two weeks ago that the Colorado Rapids were lining up a move for Howard after acquiring the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order in a trade with the Chicago Fire during the 2016 SuperDraft – giving them first priority to sign any player listed on the league’s Allocation Ranking List.
Rapids vice president of soccer operations Paul Bravo declined to comment on the report at the time, but the rumours were further stoked last week when the club traded first-choice keeper Clint Irwin to Toronto FC.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez stressed this past weekend that he had received no contact about Howard, but the speculation has now been ramped up a gear, with Pro Soccer Talk claiming that the US international has held “serious talks” with Colorado and would be keen on a stateside return.
It is reportedly “highly likely” that he signs with the MLS club – potentially as early as this month, but the prospective deal would see him remain at Goodison Park for the rest of the Premier League season before heading across the pond at the start of the summer.
A wise move or not for the Rapids?
Likely to be on a hefty Designated Player deal, there will certainly be questions raised over whether the Rapids should be splashing out on a keeper when the position is considered one of the easier to fill in MLS, but Howard’s reputation in the States would at least help a team which has struggled for relevance over recent seasons attract some headlines.
Set to turn 37 in March, the 106-times capped American’s vast experience would also prove valuable to a fledgling squad which finished bottom of the Western Conference in 2015, although his noticeable decline in form over the past 18 months suggests that he will struggle to live up to his price tag on the pitch.
Toffees boss Martinez has been forced to come to the long-serving starter's defence on several occasions this season after seeing him commit a string of goal-gifting errors, while calls from fans for backup Joel Robles to be handed the No. 1 job have been growing ever since the Spaniard impressed while deputising for his injured counterpart for a nine-match stretch last winter.
Ultimately, plenty will argue that the Rapids should be trying to save DP spots for a star playmaker or goalscorer instead, and while Howard is the kind of high-profile name MLS craves, the fact that Pablo Mastroeni's team scored a league-low 33 goals in 34 games last term makes it hard to argue otherwise.