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Report: Haris Medunjanin and Marco Fabian to leave Union

Photo: Earl Gardner

Two of the Philadelphia Union’s highly paid midfielders look set to depart the club this offseason.

Tom Bogert of MLSSoccer.com reports that the Union have declined Marco Fabian’s 2020 contract option and do not intend to offer a new contract to Haris Medunjanin, who is out of contract.

The Union declined to comment on the report to Philly Soccer Page.

Medunjanin, who will be 35 at the start of the 2020 season, was one of the Union’s most essential players in their club-best season. The midfielder played every minute of every game, leading the club with 10 assists. In his three years with the club, Medunjanin played in 98 of 102 possible regular-season matches, producing five goals and 29 assists.

Moving on from Medunjanin entirely comes as a surprise, given the Bosnia and Herzegovina native’s central role in the Union’s recent success. There is no immediately identifiable replacement on the roster, suggesting that the Union will look elsewhere to fill the 3,060 minutes that Medunjanin vacates. Philadelphia is also likely to search for a slightly different type of player to fill the CDM role — one with a higher defensive work rate and skill level. Bogert reports that the Union hope to use a “more mobile player” at the base of their midfield in 2020.

Fabian’s departure is less surprising. The 30-year-old Mexican international arrived with great fanfare earlier this season, but his performance on the pitch never matched his potential. Fabian started only 15 matches, with Brenden Aaronson supplanting him as the first-choice No. 10 by the end of the season. However, Fabian did finish second on the team with 7 goals, and added the extra-time game-winner that gave the Union their first-ever playoff victory last month.

The Union held a club option on Fabian’s 2020 contract. According to salary data, Fabian was the Union’s highest-paid player in 2019, with guaranteed compensation over $2,274,000. Medunjanin, whose contract expired at the end of the season, had guaranteed compensation of $595,000 in 2019.

Bogert also reports that the Union still hope to acquire Jamiro Monteiro, on loan from FC Metz in 2019, on a permanent basis this offseason. Indications around the club have been that Monteiro would prefer to return to Europe.

If Monteiro does not return, Ernst Tanner has work to do to rebuild what was a dominant midfield in 2019.

23 Comments

  1. wow, wow, wow…. will be interesting to see who will start the first game and how the season will develop.

  2. I did not see that coming. For all his defensive flaws, Haris was still a top player with the stats to back it up. At the end of the day, it was probably about money. A 35-year-old will not get the salary he was probably looking for…

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Actually ok with all of this. Fabian is a no-brainer. I love that they took a flyer and protected themselves with a smart deal, that if it didn’t work out, they could walk away from… smart piece of business.
    .
    As for Haris, it will hurt a little bit, but I think if you objectively look at Haris’ season last year, I would argue he positively influenced less games than he negatively influenced, or just didn’t show up in. He’s older. He shouldn’t be starting and I would welcome him back in a spot starter-type of role, but maybe he doesn’t want that, I don’t know. I will say Curtin should have rested him more, but I can completely understand trying to upgrade, or at least make a lateral move, at that position, assuming you will continue to play the 4-4-2 diamond.
    .
    Tanner has big shoes to fill, so he can’t skimp out and go cheap to properly replace Haris, but so far he’s made a lot of excellent moves. I have faith.
    .
    Thank you to Haris for some good times and good luck in the future!

    • Agreed. it’s time to move one from Haris, which we’d be doing when: next season, at 36? love the guy, but this is an eventuality and a perfect time to do it.

    • Spot on

      • Most likely Haris wouldn’t take a pay cut that would be worth his or the teams time.
        .
        They started an 18 year old beanpole over the most expensive DP in team history in the playoffs.
        That sums up what the team thought of Fabian.

  4. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    It’s fair to say that Medunjanin has reached his ceiling in this system for what Ernst envisions. Granted his double digit assist are nice but his liability on defence might make that a wash if not a liability. .
    .
    Imagine a midfield of Monteiro, Fontana, Aaronson and Bedoya next year. Although you have less experience, it could have a higher ceiling. Flip flopping Monteiro for Harris might lessen the amount of offensive assist they might lose while at the same time giving the team the destroyer in front of the back four they do desperately need. This would open up Aaronson to play the number ten and find out if Fontana is a player who could finally get consistent minutes after a year playing at Bethlehem. Fontana also might take over set pieces in place of Medunjanin.
    .
    Of course for this to happen Monteiro would have to be signed (a DP replacing Fabián) and obviously doing the math, they just got a little closer by freeing up these two salaries of Harris and Fabian. Moving Fontana into the lineup cost nothing as he’s a homegrown keeping the cost in line with the teams salary budget.
    .
    Should be an interesting silly season going forward as I was convinced that Monteiro was out of here….given these moves I’m not so sure how.

    • Thoughts on using Matt Real as the CDM? A defender who showed some attacking instincts when needed. Of course, it puts more youth in the central defensive triangle. Other thought I had was moving Mackenzie up to CDM in front of Elliot and Trusty.

      • Vince Devine says:

        Elliott would be the better choice to move up to CDM as he’s a better passer. However, since Trusty was just traded I doubt either will move out of the back line.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Real has said they’re grooming him for that role.

  5. I am *thrilled* that the team is moving on from Medunjanin.

    I mean, I really do respect the guy and what he did for the team; playing every minute of the season as a central midfielder is pretty damned impressive. But the team was literally built around him, and that provided us not only with the offensive quarterbacking we needed, but also with a defensive ceiling. Furthermore, he’s such a unique player that, at some point, he’s gonna be done, and you can’t directly replace him, which means the team has to change somewhat.

    We could’ve tried to play with him as the maestro for another season, but we would’ve had the same ceiling we had last year, in all likelihood. The time to move on from him is now. The only other thing I could ask for would be to re-sign Monteiro and install him at the #6, which is clearly where he belongs.

    • Monteiro may want to go to Europe, but he left Europe because he couldn’t get minutes at a mid-level French first division side.
      .
      Being a DP in MLS and proving it might get him a Euro-chance in a year or two. MLS’s reputation is improving. And for what it’s worth the paychecks don’t bounce.

      • Mid-level? Metz currently just barely outside relegation zone. Monte may be going back to French 2nd division team where he will struggle to get minutes…

  6. Monteiro is a very good swiss army knife. He can play anywhere in the midfield and I am glad the U are at least making a push for him (or so it seems)…

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      He can play anywhere but the 10. I just don’t think he does well there. But your point is valid… dude can play multiple spots and is essential to this team’s success. If he isn’t here, we need a guy as close to him as possible

  7. Well, I really hope that the financial fallout of these 2 moves, gives us the $$$ to bring Monteiro back. He was hands down, my favorite player to watch.

  8. In Tanner We Trust says:

    We also just traded Trusty to Colorado. I promised I wouldn’t get my hopes up, but things seem to be setting for Monteiro to come back! You could argue that all 3 of these moves are to make financial room for Monty.

  9. A word to the wise says:

    You could also argue that once you land in Jimbo’s limbo……
    #Roseyrule.

    Tanner wanted Med gone last year, along with 2 others. Just took him a little time to finish the deal.

    Fab was the price paid for waiting too long to find an engine.

  10. O captain my captain crunch is gone says:

    Kinda of bittersweet with Harris. His time was up, he had great vision and brought leadership to the team but his defensive issues made him a liability out there. We really need monteiro to come back to be successful in 2020. Anyone else on board with blustering our D? How many clean sheets did we have last year. We gave up way too many goals.

    • gave up 50 goals. Scored 52.
      .
      Moving Trusty might make room for an experienced first-line center back.
      .
      At the very least they have to cover McKenzie’s potential Olympic qualifying and Olympic absences.

  11. I will miss Harris. What he could do, he did is magically; what he could not do, he at least tried.
    .
    Marco will always be in the “what if” column with Edu, and Kleberson.
    .
    I hope Trusty succeeds with the Rapids.
    .

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