LEWIS CENTER, Ohio – Jeff Cunningham is still not a member of the Crew as the first full week of training got underway Monday in suburban Columbus.
Currently second on the list of MLS’ all-time leading scorers, Cunningham has had his rights owned by Columbus since the Stage 2 of the MLS Re-entry Draft on Dec. 15, but negotiations have gone slowly.
The striker went overseas on Jan. 11 and was training with Norwegian club IK Start. Over the weekend, Start’s website reported that Cunningham had left to sign a two-year deal with the Crew.
[inline_node:325032]However, Crew technical director Brian Bliss said his last conversation with Cunningham’s representative, Jan Schiefloe, was during the MLS Combine two weeks ago.
“I literally have not spoken to the agent or the league about any new developments since Florida,” Bliss said, adding that, "Unless the guy's willing to play for the offer that was out there 12 to 13 days ago, then we’re not any closer."
Crew coach Robert Warzycha sounded more optimistic about the team and Cunningham reaching an agreement, but also said the next step is the veteran’s.
“It is very, very, close,” Warzycha said of a deal. “We are staying where we were before. We offered him a contract, and he just has to agree to it because we negotiated for some time and we came up with some number and obviously that’s what it is going to be. It is up to him to grab it.”
FORGET IT? — The Crew’s pursuit of an unidentified English midfielder playing in the reserves for an English Premier League team seems to have cooled.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Bliss said. “I think the guy’s going somewhere else in Europe. I don’t know for a fact. The agent’s blown me off the past three days. We’ll see.”
IN TOWN — The club signed 2010 SuperDraft pick Kwaku Nyamekye on Monday. ... Chilean defender Sebastián Miranda made his first appearance Monday. His training jersey number is 21. … Draft picks Ben Sippola (Butler) and Andy Adlard (Indiana) also made their Crew training debuts. … Argentine midfielder Neri Bandiera is expected to arrive in Columbus on Tuesday and train the next day. He is the last invitee before the team heads to Arizona on Saturday.