A View from Afar

The Union race the transfer window to replace Nogueira

Photo: Daniel Studio

As another summer transfer window inches toward a close, Philadelphia Union have a trigger and a finger but no connection between them just yet.

ESPN reported Monday that U.S. international and Nantes midfielder Alejandro Bedoya could sign with the Union this week for a $1 million fee and a salary of $750,000 to $850,000. They have until Aug. 3 to close a deal, as that’s when the league’s summer transfer window and trade deadline pass.

Bedoya, 29, told ESPN about two weeks ago, “I’d still obviously prefer to stay in Europe,” but that “MLS is still in the back of my mind as a place I’d like to come back.” Draw whatever conclusion you like from that.

This marks the second straight summer that Bedoya has been reportedly lined up to sign with the Union. Last summer’s talks fell through, as did reported discussions with Colorado over the winter, and Bedoya remained in France’s Ligue 1. We’ll find out by week’s end whether Bedoya and Philadelphia can close a deal this time.

If they do, Bedoya would join a Union club that already has a crowded attacking midfield. Tranquillo Barnetta, Chris Pontius, Ilsinho, Roland Alberg and Sebastien Le Toux have all produced as starters, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

What Philadelphia has lacked since Vincent Nogueira’s departure is a quality No. 8 box to box midfielder. Tranquillo Barnetta has filled in, with Roland Alberg stepping in as a No. 10, but results haven’t been good for the club. The Union have gone 2-5-1 in league play since Nogueira’s departure and given up more than twice as many goals per game as they did prior to it.

While Bedoya has played some center midfield for the national team, he has featured primarily as an attacking midfielder for his club teams, deployed either centrally or on the right, and generally been more effective there.

Right now, Bedoya may not fit a positional need, but he’s a good player, a big name, and an American national team player who would upgrade the overall talent level and name recognition at the club.

That sounds an awful lot like another big name U.S. international with the Union: Maurice Edu, Bedoya’s former teammate at Rangers in Scotland.

Edu has finally returned to practice but looks to still be favoring the leg in which he suffered a stress fracture before this season began.

Some injuries take a long time to recover from, and leg injuries can be particularly tricky. An injury to one part of the leg can lead to overcompensation elsewhere, which can cause other problems.

Even if Edu makes it back onto the field this season, he may not recover his previous form until next season, if ever. We have seen that with former Union midfielder/center back Amobi Okugo, who suffered a knee injury last year and only recently has demonstrated the excellent form we saw when he was in Philadelphia.

On paper, Edu should be the answer to the question of who replaces Nogueira, but in reality, that looks unlikely to happen in time to slow the Union’s slide down the standings.

The recent signing of Bethlehem Steel’s Derrick Jones to a contract with the Union adds another option, but he is still young and untested at the MLS level.

Someone else has to emerge.

Could it be Bedoya? Or is another surprise on the horizon?

The Union hit the summer transfer window perfectly last year when they brought in Barnetta, their first productive big name, international, summer signing. Let’s see if they do it again. If they don’t, they still have till the Sept. 14 roster freeze date to make a move, but their options are much more limited, so much so that this is probably the do-or-die moment when it comes to significant reinforcements.

And the Union most certainly need reinforcements.


  1. Pontius – Barnetta – Illsinho
    Edu – Bedoya

    That’s a playoff midfield right there.

    • With Alberg, Le Toux, and Restrepo coming off the bench as attacking options? That’s an MLS Cup midfield.

    • Agreed. Also could have a nice defensive look with:
      Pontius – Barnetta – Bedoya
      Edu – Carroll

    • That’s a lot of attackers running straight at our currently leaky defense.
      Square peg / round hole

      • Kingkowboys says:

        Agree. Bedoya is not an 8 or 6. We are adding another log to the jam that is attacking midfield.

      • Bedoya looked great as an 8 for the NT, and has the kind of work rate and defensive ethic to provide cover at the 8.

        And I think Edu can be a great MLS 6. I am not sure what he has done to get people to forget he was a good European 6 and the USMNT 6 for a very long time.

      • Not only that, but this scared way of thinking – “OMG We don’t have that pure MLS 1.0 defensive mid, what ever are we going to do!?!?” is starting to get annoying.

        We are leaking goals left and right, EVEN WITH two defensive minded midfielders on the field.

        Seriously. Brian Carrol is basically the embodiment of the 100% Defense, 0% Offense MLS 1.0 DMid. And Creavelle is clearly a much better defensive midfielder than offensive one.

        And guess what? That midfield still gets run over.

        So instead of planning your lineup scared, let’s focus on quality of skill first. Edu has played a good 6 at high levels. Bedoya has displayed an ability and desire to play defense at high levels.

        Just because those two don’t fit in the mold of a MLS 0.5 Dmid doesn’t mean we will get overrun. Jesus, we get over run even with two MLS 1.0 DMids. So what is with this mindset?

      • It not about playing your best 11. If that were the case Man City would be playing a 1-8-1. Maybe Carrol is getting overrun because he’s 34 and has been playing almost every minute in season and cup. Creavalle isn’t a natural CDM and he plays like it at times. Edu is a wandering nomad even when playing CB.

      • Take out the MTL game and are we really getting overrun? I think this is an overstated problem with the young D hitting the mid-season wall.

      • OneManWolfpack says:


  2. “may not fill a positional need,”……..(sigh)

  3. Plus I hear talk of Barnetta not returning next season, so Bedoya could be in line for the 10 too.

    • Is that knife you just thrust into my heart 4 inches long, or 6?

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Unless you have an inside source, I wouldn’t put much credence into that talk of Barnetta leaving at the end of the year. The chatter that I have seen has been mostly people speculating on why this move for Bedoya is happening and trying to shape a narrative to fit it.

  4. … and does not sound like he wants to be here, which is a red flag for me.

    • Saw something somewhere last night that mentioned he wants his son to go to school in the states.

    • Not to mention they were close with this deal last year, so for this to be happening again clearly shows Bedoya is interested.

      Plus he is from Jersey.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      I didn’t hear that. To me, he seemed like he was playing the “I’m happy to stay at my current club” card so he gets the contract that he wants from the Union.

      If you’re Bedoya, you just had a kid, and like most people, you want to be closer to your family and friends so if the money is right, MLS makes a lot of sense for him. Plus, he has his family’s coffee business which he can help grow in the US which was probably more difficult for him to do while in Europe.

  5. If the U sign Bedoya then Barnetta is 100% gone after the season. Even if Bedoya doesn’t come here I still think he’s gone. We could potentially have a lot of money freed up for the offseason depending on how long some of these contracts are for current players and the expansion draft that will happen in the offseason.

    • Why would Barnetta be 100% gone? It seems like he really likes it here and I personally think he may end up retiring at the Union.
      But speaking of retirements, I think it’s time for le toux to hang up the boots

    • Why Barnetta? Why not Ilsinho? Bedoya often plays on the right. Ilsinho is a highlight reel. Barnetta is a winner.

      • Yeah, the Union are definately not in a hurry to get rid of Barnetta or Le Toux for that matter. They both fit MLS and this team/style perfectly (Le Toux as a sub at this point). Are we freeing up money to get better players? I doubt that.

  6. Sorry I haven’t been in the mix for a while due to planing and attending a lot of meetings and conventions. Bedoya would be an awesome addition if it works out. The Union currently sit in 4th place and they are no longer catching teams by surprise. Signing Bedoya could put them in a position to have that little extra. Here’s hoping.

  7. Zizouisgod says:

    A lot of people have forgotten than Barnetta played many times on the wing for both Schalke and Leverkusen. In fact, he played mostly on the wing while at Schalke.

    I think that the players that are most vulnerable to Bedoya joining and cutting into their playing time are Ilsinho and Alberg.

  8. pragmatist says:

    The question that keeps coming to my mind is, why does signing Bedoya preclude us from ALSO signing/trading for a striker? Doesn’t it seem to fit Earnie’s style that he would be accumulating a talented roster for the long-term? Isn’t it possible that AB could be a piece of a long-term plan, as well as providing a short-term benefit?
    Yes, they missed out on Mullins. Maybe the price was too high (can’t imagine what it would have been, however). But around the world, in every league, there are deadline-day deals. Let’s see what happens and wait until the dust settles. Then feel free to run the post-mortems.
    Bedoya is a talent upgrade. He’s a massive upgrade over Warren. And while he doesn’t have the 1-on-1 skill of Ilsinho, he certainly has the workrate and intelligence on the wing that we can use. Also, I’m guessing that it’s not too much to ask for Bedoya to play a full 90 minutes at least once.
    Everyone take 2 steps back from the Cliff. Take a deep breath, and realize we’re still on pace for our preseason expectations. The path has been a little more erratic than we would have liked, but we’re still there.

    • Agree prag. The poll we all answered basically said the MOST optimistic of us was dan himself, thinking 5th in the east. The rest said 6th or 7th. Sure we want more now, but let’s let the team make their moves. They earned that respect.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      My poll was not a finishing place on the table or the playoffs it was ..playing well
      This team is not playing well and does not seem capable of playing well in the lengthening recent past slash emerging present and future: Scoring 2 PK gols in one game. Giving up gols left and right. “Long to Sapong.”
      These are the problems. These are the reasons I’m sojourning back to C.o.U.D with kindling and cookies.
      My metric was not playoffs.

  9. I don’t see Bedoya coming = Barnetta leaving. Barnetta has the perfect mix of skill/experience/some gas left in the tank/not too expensive

  10. Hate to be the naysayer, but this doesn’t seem to fit the Earnie Stewart rhetoric of signings. He’s said that a) were only bringing in players that fit the system and buying players he can sell on. Would love if this were true AND it solved the number 8 problem we have right now, but one way or the other, it seems a bit far fetched to me

  11. So while I don’t want Bedoya and think it is a waste of money to bring him here. Honestly I prefer Mix since I think he is a cheaper option and has more upside, but could the Union do this instead:
    KR- Tribbet – Marquez – Fabi
    Carroll – Edu
    Bedoya – Ilsinho – Barnetta

    Bench Jones, Gaddis, Yaro, Letoux, Alberg, Herbers, Pontius

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      No way Pontius goes to the bench. Can’t see it.

      • I would agree, but I can’t see Bedoya playing the 8 or 10 I think his best position is out wide. While Ilsinho could be benched his creativity helps get the outside backs up the field and gives others time to make runs.

  12. Kwando Poku………..he’s in the NASL now, with Miami FC. Get that dude back in the MLS!

    • Zizouisgod says:

      He’s making like $500k per year there.

      • And he’s not that good. Dude made a couple of strong runs and all of a sudden he’s amazing. 2 coaches didn’t like the dude. I don’t understand the fascination.

      • He’s better than what we have there now……I didn’t know he had that type of price tag though

      • I didn’t know he’s making that kind of scratch there…..forget about it.

  13. Wilkerson McLaser says:

    It might just be me, but I don’t see how Bedoya is justified, unless another key midfield cog (say, Barnetta, or even Edu) are expected to depart in the semi-near future. Bedoya is great — a highly underrated player who brings a lot to the XI — but he is not going to fit into cleanly into our current midfield, which could only further disrupt its once excellent rhythm.
    His most obvious positional move is to occupy the no. 8 alongside Mo as a holding mid…except 1) we don’t know when Mo will be back (or for how long) and 2) Edu is *not* an especially disciplined no. 6. Never has been. He’s usually described as a box to box, but he’s probably more like a Jermaine Jones type advanced destroyer capable of some good killer passes or shots. Either way, that would leave Bedoya (!!) to pick up the slack defensively. That…does not inspire confidence. Bedoya is great and tracks back like a champ, but this would likely be tactically inferior to just keeping Carroll in his spot, allowing him to continue to do gods work.
    The idea that Bedoya and Edu can play some kind of double pivot effectively is a leap, and a big risk to take when you’re in the home stretch ahead of the playoffs. We’d be much better suited bringing on a closer like-like replacement for Nogs and/or a proven striker.

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