Ivica Olic considering winter move from HSV to MLS

Ivica Olic’s January return to Hamburger SV may have come with hope that the Croatian striker who became a star at HSV would help his former club at least avoid relegation, but it also arrived with a healthy heap of nostalgia for a time when a younger version of Olic had Hamburg making regular trips to Europe.

After again narrowly averting disaster in the relegation playoff, the HSV seems to be focusing on a Bundesliga future built on youth, leaving their 37-year-old veteran watching from the touchline for all but 53 minutes of the season thus far, despite scoring for Hamburg in their DFB Cup opening-round loss to Carl Zeiss Jena.

While Olic may have fully enjoyed the hero’s welcome he received upon his move from VfL Wolfsburg in January, he has made clear his desire to play more regularly by openly discussing a potential winter transfer to MSL of the United States.

“I have been in contact with Seattle for a while now,” Olice told Sport Bild. “There has also been contact with Orlando. We’ll come to a decision in the winter. Anything could happen.”

Assuming that “anything” includes a substantial increase of his role in Bruno Labbadia’s plans for the first half of HSV’s Bundesliga season, Olic’s words with one of Germany’s most-widely read sports publications are certainly meant to be heard by all those concerned. Olic has shown in his limited time that he’s still in great shape and can still deliver the full-throttle effort that made him the fan-favorite he’s long been.

He simply isn’t content to make it happen in the limited role he’s currently being offered in northern Germany. Could a relatively high-paying gig away from Europe be the right move to help such a competitive player ease into retirement?

Olic’s contract ends in the summer of 2016, at the end of the current Bundesliga season. A transfer to MLS, where the 2016 season begins in March, would mean a winter transfer and putting off plans of pursuing his coaching credentials by at least another half-year.

Because he still wants to play.

“I can easilyi imagine playing in the USA,” said Olic to Sport Bild. “We’ll make the decision together, but I think that my family also has interest in the USA. Our children go to international schools here; they speak English very well. For them it would also be good to live a while in the USA.”

Olic’s recent pondering of life in America isn’t the first time he’s openly discussed the notion. Back in 2013, while still playing regularly at Wolfsburg, he reflected on the good times he’d had in Hamburg and with FC Bayern Munich before talking about his eventual departure from the German league.

“(In Hamburg) there always is a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium, and in 2009 we made it to the semifinals of the DFB and UEFA Cups. My most-successful time in sports were the three years in Munich,” reflected Olic. “If my body allows it and I’m fit enough, I’d like to play for a year in the USA or in Dubai after my Bundesliga career is through.

Olic won the double with Bayern Munich in 2010 and scored seven Champions League goals where Bayern lost in the final to Inter Milan.

Whatever Olic does come January, expect to see him fighting a bit longer in service to Hamburger SV until then.

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.