Polish Striker Spurns Crew

The Columbus Crew's rumored signing of Maciej Zurawski fell apart in the dying hours of the transfer window, with the Polish striker agreeing to a move to Greek club Larissa instead. Columbus officials were a bit miffed over the situation, saying they were almost certain the Crew had landed the Celtic forward, right up until they learned of his transfer through the Scottish club's website.
"Nobody is more disappointed than me, " said Crew general manager Mark McCullers. "But we don't have time to dwell on it. We have to get back in the saddle and get back after it.

"We really don't even know what happened. It's not like the agent came back to us and said make us a better offer. To not even get a call indicating that another offer had been made is very aggravating to me."

Those comments were echoed by head coach Sigi Schmid, who had hoped to gain a proven goal-scorer in Zurawski.

"We were negotiating in good faith with Zurawski's agent. Apparently, though, (Larissa) was a team who had show interest in him before. They came back with a substantially improved offer. It was over the top.

"That's the nature of the business," said Schmid. "Those things happen. Sometimes teams don't get who they're pursuing the first time around. It's important to realize that the Hunts stepped up to the plate, and the league did what they needed to do."

TJ's take: The willingness of the Hunt Sports Group to go after a bigger name, higher-quality player is very encouraging for the league. Though Zurawski ultimately spurned MLS for a higher payday in Greece, it at least shows that the league's teams have gained some ground in the international credibility game.

For Columbus, I wouldn't be surprised if they aggressively went after Brian McBride this summer, especially if the former Crew star's Fulham side finds itself relegated out of the Premier League.

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