The future of former Port Vale player Chris Birchall was uncertain after he was placed on the MLS re-entry draft.
The MLS draft is a complex affair and the news means that Birchall will probably leave current club Columbus Crew although that is by no way certain.
Effectively, Birchall is now open to offers from all MLS clubs with former club Columbus Crew having first option.
According to reports in the USA, the move to “release” Birchall was due to an option in his contract which included a “sizable raise” so it is unlikely he would rejoin his former club.
If Birchall receives no offers he would become a free agent. This means he would be free to join Football League clubs who due to the closing of the loan window can only add free agents or emergency loans, agreed by the Football League, to their squad.
Micky Adams’ side, who missed out on the signings of Lee Hughes and Jed Wallace in the loan window, due to technical issues sending the required documents to the Football League, have already added free agent Calvin Andrew to their squad and may feel that Birchall, if he becomes a free agent would also be a useful addition while the loan and transfer market is closed
Birchall would offer experience cover both on the flanks and in central midfield and was already set to train with the Valiants over the MLS break. Although the Valiants would not offer the financial security of the US leagues, it would allow Birchall to move back to hometown Stone and rejoin the team where he started his career in football.
Vale’s last signing from US football was Onandi Lowe, who joined on loan in 2001.
The Trinidad and Tobago International is the club’s most capped International with 22 full caps and is the only person to appear at a World Cup finals whilst a Port Vale player.
After rising through the junior ranks at Vale, he made 91 appearances and scored nine goals, before a £325,000 move to Coventry City, then managed by current Vale boss Micky Adams.