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It’s official: Philadelphia Union sign Maurice Edu

Photo: Courtesy of US Soccer

The Philadelphia Union announced on Monday the signing of US international Maurice Edu from Premier League club Stoke City. The 27 year old midfielder will be presented to the media on Tuesday at the YSC Academy in Wayne, Pa. The presentation will be streamed live on the Union website.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, per league and club policy. However, a press release from the club says that Edu joins the Union as a designated player “on a one-year loan with an option to purchase.”

Edu, who first played in MLS with Toronto FC where he was named the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2007, joins the Union with hopes of improving his prospects of making the US World Cup team after struggling to find playing time with Stoke following his transfer there in 2012. In 2013 he was sent on loan by Stoke to Turkish club Bursaspor. Edu joined Stoke after four successful years with Scottish club Rangers.

In an interview published at Soccer America on Friday, Union manager John Hackworth described why Edu wanted a return to MLS and where he will play for the Union.

“One of the reasons why Mo is interested in coming back to the league is, one, he knows from [Jurgen] Klinsmann he has to play in order to make the World Cup team,” Hackworth said. “He also knows he has to be playing in the center midfield position because that’s where Jurgen and his staff are looking for him to play, and that’s absolutely one of our key needs: a guy who can be a box-to-box midfielder. While I think he could play center back, my commitment to him and to his representatives is we will play him in the midfield.”

News of the Union’s interest in Edu first broke on Jan. 14 following the trade of Jeff Parke to DC United in return for Ethan White and the top spot in the allocation order.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle then reported that the league office was “balking at Maurice Edu’s salary of $1.2M,” adding, “If league nixes Edu to Union deal, expect all hell to break loose.”

Break loose it did, with Union fans questioning why the league would block the move given the amount of money laid out most recently for Jermaine Defoe and Michael Bradley, as well as Clint Dempsey before them.

Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said at the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia on Jan. 16, “We just want to make sure we do it right. Right for Mo. Right for the league. Right financially for the Union. We want him. And he wants to be here. But the negotiating process is very fluid and unpredictable.” Sakiewicz also said reports that the league was blocking the deal and the reported $1.2 million price tag were false.

MLS head Don Garber said, “There was way too much made of the league role in this. Let me be very clear, whether it’s our league or any other league, player signings are approved by the league. This is no different than any other transaction.”

Whatever objections the league may or may not have had, the Union’s offseason goal of improving it’s midfield — which gained speed with the signing of Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana on Jan. 15 and was strengthened by the acquisition of Edu — now continues with the pursuit of Vincent Nogueira.

In a column on Thursday, PSP’s Dan Walsh, who broke the news of the Union’s pursuit of Maidana and of Nogueira, reported that the Union is nearing a deal to sign the French midfielder.

40 Comments

  1. As one who had lost all hope and trust in to Union I have to say way to go!! Good on Hackworth and Sakiewicz! Now lets see some real on field and and in games strategy.

  2. Nogueira would be a great add and give the team genuine depth in the midfield spots, but I kind of wonder if I wouldn’t rather see that money invested in a CB. I’m not remotely keen on a White/Okugo CB pairing.

    • Portland just released Silvestre. Would you want him for a year, and figure Cope will be ready after that?

      • The guy is 36 and coming off an ACL tear after playing maybe 7-10 games last season.

      • Basically what Jim Presti said. I would be interested in giving Heath Pearce a look though. Ideally we could get a big bruiser somewhere.

  3. I’ve always wondered how the option to buy works. Is there a price that has been fixed as part of the initial deal? Or does Stoke set a price next year if the Union are still interested?

    • I think the price to buy would be agreed to up front. (Source: Hours and hours in Football manager)

      • amen!!!

      • In real life or football manager, I’ve never head of a loan with a price to buy working any differently. On occasion, there are clauses built in that can change the price, but for the most part there is one price that the team will pay.

        The idea is that the selling side wants a little more money than the buying team is going to be willing to pay, so they take on some of the risk to get a better sale later. In the case of Edu, I think it might be the case that Stoke is still paying some of his salary, hence the need for a loan deal. If that’s the case, he’s not going to be here long term for much less than his current Stoke wages.

    • It works like a security option. There is a “strike price” previously agreed upon. Though I’m sure certain incentives or situations may alter the strike price.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Like LCB said above, I too am impressed. I was very skeptical on what, if anything, the Union were doing to improve the club this offseason. I have to say, now that we have officially signed Maidana and Edu, with Nogueira apparently on the way…. the team is better. Period. As fan, that is what I want.
    .
    I do agree that the White/Okigo pairing is a little weak, but if Edu is box to box, and he can assist Carroll in his defensive duties, that helps to sure up the D. Plus Hack has already said if White/Okugo isn’t working they will look to add a veteran CB.
    .
    I am a happy fan again. Is it March yet?!?!

    • This post got me thinking – is it really Hack’s intention to shoehorn Carroll into what will most likely be a 5 man midfield, with a single striker? I think we’re best when Jack and Casey are up front together. Le Toux on the right, at this point, should be a no-brainer… so with Edu, Nogueira and Chaco, is there still room for Carroll?

      • I agree with your lineup. I could see us also using a more defensive formation with for away games:
        Carol, Edu
        LeToux, Noqueira, Maidana
        JackMac

        This would give Casey some rest…

    • Why is Carroll even in this conversation?!! The Union should be making arrangements to get rid of him and maybe gets some money for him. Hell, they can get rid of him for free for all I care haha. He has no creativity at all and gets knocked off the ball in every pressured situation. Maybe if it were another position on the field I wouldn’t be so harsh but for a successful central defending mid he’s below average. He also had basically every game last year to show improvement and he failed to do so.

      • I would trade Carroll for a bag of dogshit!!!

      • I completely agree with you on the offensive side but he is a solid defending midfielder when he does not have to cover 4 players’ positions (you know our midfield was a nightmare). He is very good at blocking lanes and clogging up our defensive third. I would not mind him and Edu behind Chaco, Noquiera and Le Toux with either JacMac or Casey up top

      • LOL, ‘dogshit’ might be a little harsh, but I’d be MORE than happy to drive Carroll to the train station outta town.

  5. Great news

  6. The Black Hand says:

    Very good news. Now if Carroll would retire, the club will be onto something.

    • Say what you will about Carroll as a starter, but he is among the better depth options out there in MLS. If Edu ends up forcing him to the bench, that’s great for the club as we have a top quality backup at the position. If Carroll retires, we lose a key option should we need to rest Edu or he pick up injury or cards.

      • Or if he goes to the World Cup. Carroll will still be very important to the team.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Carroll’s tank is getting close to E. I think that we have better options within the club. His lateral and, much more frequent, backward play are hindering the team’s progression. Add to that, the fact that his marking and tackling are becoming suspect. It’s time to move on from Ol’ #7 (and has been for some time).

      • I sincerely agree with you. The problem is that the coach doesn’t, so he will start.

  7. good start.

  8. Wilkerson McLaser says:

    With Edu, Maidana, and Nogueira (insh.), I will be busy for awhile cookin’ and feastin’ on this big ol’ crow pie. Delicious.
    .
    So, after we win supporters shield and MLS cup, who do you guys think we’ll face in the final of the club world cup? 😀

  9. I believe that with the acquisition of Nogueira Hackworth could then play his 4-3-3 with Maidana, Casey, and LeToux (up top) and Nogueira, Edu, and Carroll (behind). That way (in possession) the Union are in 4-3-3 and (out of possession) they can use a 3-5-1. Hopefully Nogueira will sign and the Union will have talent and depth in their lineup.

    • IDK … do you really sit a 21 year old who scored 15 goals last year? I agree in a 4-3-3 both Jack and Casey don’t fit. But it all comes down to how we play.

      If we can play a good 4-3-3 where we keep possession, play it on the ground and have passers with vision, I would much rather see Jack up top than Casey.

      • I agree. I think Jack is more versatile than people give him credit for

      • kingkowboys says:

        I would not be surprised to see different looks depending on match up. Also home versus away. I think Casey and Jack will rotate if we are playing a 4-3-3. I think on the road or against pure attacking teams we go with a more 4-4-1-1 approach with Casey and Jack or even a 4-5-1 approach. Best part is that we can actually change formations this year.

  10. Am I the only one who thinks that it’s crazy a LOAN has to go through allocation order? I realize this means teams could navigate around the AO by disguising a long-term buy as a loan, but this is just weird to me.

  11. If we pick up Nogeuira the offseason will have been a massive success. I’m sad about losing Parke, and think that weakens the defense, and makes for a suspect left side, but the rest of the team through the midfield will have been massively strengthened. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us start the season off with Shaenon at CB, Gaddis at Right, and Fabinho/draftee at LB. I think it would be easier to hide a new player at LB than CB and Hackworth is comfortable with his guys.
    .
    I really hope Hack doesn’t let his love for Carroll blind him. Don’t get me wrong Carroll is an excellent off the bench option to seal a game, and provides some depth and veteran leadership on the bench, but he simply can’t start with the new acquisitions, especially if it is at the expense of either Jack or Casey, as their worth is exponentially more than his. My guess is Carroll starts the year at CDM with Edu, but we move away from that as the year goes.
    .
    With our current team (assuming Nogueira) my preferred lineup would be 4-4-2.
    Blake (or Macmath, I just think Blake looks awesome)
    Gaddis, Williams, Okugo, Fabinho
    Le Toux, Nogueira, Edu, Maidana
    Casey, Jack
    .
    It’s amazing how a couple weeks changes the outlook for the year.

    • I agree with your first point. Williams is our best CB option until someone proves otherwise. Gaddis is better at RB than LB, slightly inferior to Williams but decent. I rate Fabinho as LB. The U are much more dynamic with him there. With Carroll sitting deep the backs can get upfield, which is what the manager wants.
      4-1-3-2.

    • What I like about that line up is that it leaves Cruz on the bench as a sub, which is a roll better served.

  12. Heath Pearce?

    • …was awful last year in North Jersey, and that was before he had hip surgery. It’s entirely possible that he’s not ready to return yet, considering no one so much as looked his way during either round of the re-entry draft.
      .
      Chivas wanted rid of the guy so badly, they paid more than half his salary while he was with the Red Bulls.

      • Chivas traded him to get Agudelo. Not exactly giving him away, now is it? Pearce struggled last year but part of that was due to injury. He has questions, but at the right salary figure he could be worth a shout.

  13. By the way, I thought this was funny. In the leagues article about the Edu acquisition thee argue was asked why the allocation order was used when it has not been used in the past for DPs, this is the answer.
    .
    “As with most aspects of the business, the league, in consultation with the clubs, reviews the roster rules on an annual basis and reserves the right to modify them prior to each season. The amendment to the assignment mechanism for Designated Players will be reflected in the 2014 roster rules that will be released prior to the start of the season.”
    .
    Obviously it doesn’t really matter now but they are just a joke in making up things as they go along.

    • you are right but think of it this way: five years ago the team had never even played a match, and now they have an actual USA international on the roster – not bad

    • kingkowboys says:

      Translation – Philadelphia is not “sexy” enough to allow anyone they are willing to pay as a DP to come to Philadelphia and play. Seattle = too sexy for my shirt, LA = too sexy for my pants, NY = too sexy for my hat! Get whoever you want, no rules!

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