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  • Long Balls: Mike Klukowski needs a new home



    All that's left for Canadian defender Mike Klukowski now is to sign a DP contract with a Canadian Major League Soccer team and perform below expectations throughout his first season.

    Klukowski finds himself on career path similar to that blazed by TFC midfielder Julian de Guzman, who admittedly shone a smidge brighter in Europe before standing up to Spanish club Deportivo over unpaid wages and making a much-heralded return to Toronto.

    This report seems to confirm that Mike Klukowski has left Turkish club Ankaragucu following a dispute over three months of missing paycheques. It's perfectly understandable. Most people (excluding perhaps those who write about Canadian soccer), strike a fairly simple bargain throughout their working lives by exchanging their services in the form of labour for some form of remuneration. In other words, show me the money.

    So for Klukowski, where to now?


    It sounds like Ankaragucu president Ahmet Gokcek was happy to wash his hands of the meddlesome Polish-Canadian anyway, telling reporters via Google Translate that, "We need players who are at the heart of our club. Without those who have departed, the team will function better." So there you have it.

    The fact Canada's best leftback is floundering around without a club the season before World Cup qualifying truly kicks in is not ideal, but it's preferable to having him floundering this time next year. Kluks, one of Canada's best performers at the last Gold Cup in 2009, will be 28 years old in May. His 2010-11 season was a mixed bag, featuring one goal in 19 starts with Ankaragucu and a long absence from any matches with the Canadian national team due to personal matters. He's in the prime of his career, and assuming the experience in Turkey leaves an unpleasant aftertaste it's likely he'll search for another club in Europe, the clunky intro to this article aside.

    His European club career includes stints in the French second division as well as five years with one of the biggest clubs in Belgium, Club Brugge. Any thoughts on where Canada's first-choice leftback will play club football next season?

    Other notable Canadian matters over the past week.

    Simeon Jackson, Norwich City (English second division)

    Canada's mainstay striker appears firmly back in his scoring saddle. He played 90 minutes a week ago against Nottingham Forest and scored a crucial goal in a 2-2 draw against Watford midweek as the Canaries clutch desperately to an automatic promotion spot in the Championship. I for one, sincerely hope that Norwich does win promotion and that Jackson stays with the club in the Premiership, even at the risk of spending most of his time on the subs bench. Perhaps he'll bloom into something of a Simon Kalou? Not necessarily a first-choice striker (or even a particularly good one, based on the example I'm using) but one who still gets plenty of appearances in big matches.

    Atiba Hutchinson, PSV Eindoven (Dutch first division)

    The Incredible Hutch turned in another solid 90 minutes on the weekend in a 2-0 win over Heracles. The Eredivisie remains bunged up tighter than a Canadian tourist after a week of Cuban resort food, as PSV is tied for first place with Twente on 65 points, one ahead of Ajax.

    Milan Borjan , FK Rad (Serbian first division)

    Mee-lan notched yet another clean sheet in a 0-0 midweek draw with Borac Čačak, his fifth since the season resumed in February. Sadly, Rad has fallen off the pace for the last Europa League spot, 12 points behind third place Vojvodina.

    Kevin McKenna , Köln (German first division)

    The burly Canadian defender continues his struggle to secure playing time. He hasn't been named to the lineup the club's past two matches and had played only 200 minutes on four appearances in the Bundesliga this season.

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