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Rumor: Union linked to Turkish striker

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Are the Union interested in Colin Kazim-Richards?

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Turkey and Feyenoord striker Colin Kazim-Richards has been linked to the Philadelphia Union, according to an article from football-oranje.com. Since the article was not sourced, and any external sources linking Kazim-Richards to the Union could not be found, the article itself is the only thing linking the player to the club. As a result, this, like all rumors, is to be taken with a grain of salt.

That being said, it's understandable why the player would be floated as a Union transfer target. New Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart had previously held the same title at AZ Alkmaar, who, like Feyenoord, are a mainstay in the Eredivisie. Earlier this year, AZ were reportedly interested in Kazim-Richards.

When Kazim-Richards's Feyenoord met Stewart's AZ in league play last April, Kazim-Richards assisted the third goal as the Rotterdam side won 4-1. Though he performed well, what occurred after the game is what drew the gaze of AZ's technical staff. According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Kazim-Richards entered the opposing team's locker room and reportedly scolded the side for failing to pick up young defender Derrick Luckassen. The then-19-year-old defender scored an own goal in just the third minute, giving Feyenoord an early lead. The report says that AZ players and staff watched with "amazement and adoration." It goes on to say that if Feyenoord were not interested in resigning Kazim-Richards, who was then a loanee, he would be welcomed at AZ.

Feyenoord did opt to keep Kazim-Richards, but he has not enjoyed the same success in his second Dutch campaign. After scoring a career-high 11 goals for Feyenoord last season, the striker has only appeared in 11 of his club's 17 games this season, scoring once. Dirk Kuyt, Eljero Elia, and Michiel Kramer have been the preferred attackers in Feyenoord's 4-3-3.

Last week, rumors surfaced that Kazim-Richards desired a transfer, but Feyenoord Technical Director Martin van Geel denied that the player was leaving the club. Van Geel also mentioned that Kazim-Richards has a year and a half remaining on his contract.

Kazim-Richards has had a tumultuous career thus far, as Feyenoord is the 29-year-old's tenth club. Coincidentally, it is also the first club for which he has scored more than ten goals in a season. His 12 league goals for Feyenoord is already the most he has scored with one club, despite spending nearly four years with Fenerbahçe. The striker has also made 37 appearances for Turkey, scoring only twice.

His unimpressive goalscoring record is only compounded by his poor conduct both on and off the field. I'm sure this list won't be comprehensive, but here are a few incidents for which Kazim-Richards is infamous:

  • In 2009, Kazim-Richards received a four-game ban for swearing at a referee. Reports surfaced that he spent the night out as his club--then Fenerbahce--lost. Though the club initially denied the reports, they were forced to rescind the denial as it became evident that Kazim-Richards had lied about where he was.
  • In May of 2013, Kazim-Richards was accused of making homophobic gestures toward fans of Brighton, a former club. He was later found guilty of insulting behavior.
  • Earlier this year, Vitesse's Zakaria Labyad accused Kazim-Richards of slapping him in the tunnel connecting the pitch to the locker rooms.

Standing at 6'1, Kazim-Richards has the size to play center forward, but also has experience playing on either wing. His age plus his recent success atop a 4-3-3 make it likely that that's where he would play if the Union actually are interested in him.

Below are a few highlight videos from the 2014-15 season.