Hot Stove: Red Bulls linked to Sidney Govou

IMAGE, FIFA.COM

IMAGE, FIFA.COM

New York Red Bull Director of Global Football Gerard Houllier has a soft spot for former Lyon players, so it should be no shock when the rumor mill connects one to a jump Stateside.

With Lyon legend Juninho and Peguy Luyindula making their way to Harrison, is it unreasonable to believe former French international Sidney Govou could follow?

According to Parisian publication Le Progres, New York have their eyes set on the veteran midfielder. Govou, 34, was a vital part of Lyon for over a decade, helping the club towards seven Ligue 1 titles. After a stint in Greece with Panathinaikos, he returned to Ligue 1 play with Evian before joining Lyon once again — this time, on an amateur contract with their reserve team.

Now, Govou looks to be on the move for the fourth time in three years. According to Progres, the former French star has been “given until the end of January to find a club.” Beside reported Red Bull interest, the only other party competing for Govou’s services – Chasselay – are yet another French amateur side.

What can the French veteran bring to New York? For starters, an experienced option at the right midfield slot. Since trading Dane Richards to the Whitecaps two years ago, the Red Bulls have not been able to find someone to fill his shoes. Eric Alexander performed well last season in his stead, but was hardly a game changer in an unnatural wing slot.

That isn’t to say Govou would fair much better. He has lost most of his once-infamous breakthrough speed and, many would argue, his competitive drive. The midfielder has suffered a noticeable dip in form since leaving Lyon, scoring all of two professional goals since his departure some three years ago.

Health is also a concern. Govou ruptured his patella March of last season, unable to see the field until September of that same year. He also ruptured his achilles twice in two years, missing four months of action in 2009 and five months in 2012. He will be 35 this July.

Were New York to sign Govou, he would be the only natural right-sided midfielder on the roster and would likely come at a bargain price. However, considering his age and recent form, it would be a risk to depend on him as a starter.