Impact of Michael Bradley signing 

July, 5, 2012

According to the usually reliable Italian sports daily Gazetta dello Sport, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley is in the Eternal City today to put the final touches on a three-year deal with AS Roma.

This latest news comes on the heels of earlier reports that a deal was imminent -- reports that, according to our sources, were premature.

Now, though, it's beginning to seem likely that a transfer could become official in the next few days.

"If the agreement is reached then the player will be a Roma player probably as soon as tomorrow," local journalist Mina Rzouki quoted Bradley's Italian-based agent as saying. (Ron Waxman, Bradley's longtime New York-based agent, couldn't be reached for comment.)

Assuming it happens, here are three quick thoughts:

He needs to play.

Three years ago, when Oguchi Onyewu's standout performances at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup convinced AC Milan to sign the U.S. defender, American fans were thrilled to see a Yank join one of the world's most revered teams. But Gooch -- even when healthy -- never saw a minute of Serie A action. We're not saying the same thing would happen with Bradley at Roma, but the point is that the bigger the club, the fiercer the competition for spots.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.