It’s the end of the summer transfer window. In past years the Union have been quiet until the last week of the window. That’s when they’d announce signings. The past two years players like Tranquillo Barnetta (in 2015) and Alejandro Bedoya (in 2016) were summer acquisitions. This season, It’s been radio silence from the Union. Will Union add or drop anyone at the death of the transfer deadline day?
The MLS transfer window closes tomorrow. All trades that involve players and signings of players from another country must be done by then.
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 8, 2017
The major needs for the Union has been a string-puller number 10, and a big money striker. This season The Union have used four different players at the 10.
The club has struggled to move on from the departure of Tranquillo Barnetta. This is a need that the team has tried to fill in this window, but we’ll get into that later The play of Ilsinho could cause the Union to ride-or-die with him this year. As for the big money striker, the Union have a striker who is a top scorer in MLS this season.
CJ Sapong has a dozen goals, and has been the only way the Union have found offensive success. A striker may be a priority after this season, depending on what happens with Charlie Davies and Jay Simpson, but that’s a long ways away. Now let’s look at how the Union’s actions through the transfer window.
Failed transfers for a number 10.
The Union have had two players train with them as trials to see if they were fits for the team. Both were young central midfielders. Negotiations with both broke down.
Jim Curtin on Costa Rica attacking midfielder Elias Aguilar – pic.twitter.com/wty2dpjYAh
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) June 27, 2017
The Union tried out Elias Aguilar. He is a tenacious number 10 who on paper, and highlights, would fit well with Philly. Unfortunately he did not impress coach Jim Curtin. As you can see from the above quote, this apparently didn’t make it past the trial stage of proceedings even though there were tabloid rumors saying both sides were discussing a sale/loan. This transfer rumor didn’t have any legs but another did.
— Paul Catrino Jr (@catrino93) August 7, 2017
Nico Martinez is another number 10 that again, looked like a good fit for the Union. He is the property of Greek side Olympiacos, but has been on different loan spells over the last few years. Martinez came to Philly trained and passed his physical, then went back home with terms to a deal. As he was coming back to Philly to negotiate and possibly sign a deal, the terms changed and the deal fell through. Tough to call how that actually happened, if the greek article siting this is accurate, but it did fall through.
The Union look to be out of the running for a number 10 in this window, but could they still welcome new players to the team, or trade for someone late?
Werder Bremen ready to sell U.S. forward Aron Johannsson https://t.co/DoLQVZvFgJ
— Tucson Post (@tucsonpost) August 8, 2017
A report out of Germany stated that US international Aron Johannsson was set to leave Werder Bermen. He is a striker that the Union were rumored to be interested in this past January. He is now on the market. His past connection with Earnie Stewart’s last club AZ Alkmaar could make the Union a great fit for the struggling 26-year-old. However, a winter move would make more sense for the Union as they have three strikers on their bill.
Hearing per sources that a couple Eastern Conference teams interested in Ethan Finlay. Certainly has quite a resume with Columbus.
— Kristian Dyer (@KristianRDyer) August 8, 2017
This rumor came out today that the Columbus Crew’s Ethan Finlay is wanted by a few eastern conference teams. He’d be a welcome sight for the Union on the right-wing. Chris Pontius has done little to provide a spark on that side of the field this season. Finlay’s speed and finishing ability would make him a great fit. The Union could then play he, and Fafa Picault on the left giving the Union two speedy options. Or, they could move Pontius back on the left where he had double-digit goals last season for the Union. Either way their offense would benefit from the addition of Finlay.
However it seems that he may be imminently moving on to Minnesota United…
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) August 9, 2017
Sebastian Le Toux… No, Seriously:
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) August 8, 2017
This would be the most Union-y thing to ever happen if it happens. If Sebastian Le Toux comes back to the Union via a trade, it would be very awkward but great. Seba is a great mentor and could take on the Gooch role of mentoring the young talent that is coming up through the Union ranks. Le Toux wouldn’t be a starter, but would be good depth at any of the four offensive slots. Could there really be a third spell of Sebastian Le Toux to the Union?
Players they could sell/trade.
The Union have a lot of players who are valuable could we see them be traded away on deadline day?
Alberg has been up and down for the Union in his career, but I’d bet there’s a MLS side that could benefit from his addition. Maybe the Union sell/trade him while he’s still worth something instead of just releasing him this coming offseason. He’d bring in some good TAM/GAM, or another talented player to the Union.
Edu has been hurt for the past two years. He’s on his way out this offseason, but could the Union try to deal him to another MLS side that want’s to take a chance on him? This move would likely be just for some more allocation money, or maybe an international spot to be used later?
Gaddis has had a resurgent 2017 campaign. He’s won his starting spot, and has shown he’s a very good defensive right back. The problem is, he doesn’t get forward well. This is something the Union want from their outside backs; Keegan Rosenberry does this but is slumping. Trade Gaddis to a team that lacks defense for an attacking midfielder or TAM/GAM.
Yaro has had a rough season due to injuries, and is one of the Union’s brightest young defenders. He is one of the many defenders the Union have. Jack Elliot has been a revelation in Yaro’s stead. The Union have five center backs, offering Yaro in a trade would help the Union bring in some more allocation money.
Blake is the best player the Union have so why sell? Here’s why. This is a long shot for this window, but think about it. John McCarthy has played six games, and has looked great! He’s won MLS’s save of the week twice, and was on MLS’s team of the week twice. This dude is a true MLS starter and will be great for Philly when Blake is gone. If a team offers 2-3 million tomorrow for Blake, the Union would benefit from taking it.
Will the Union add or drop anyone?
All signs point to nothing happening for the Union in this transfer window. Instead all focus seems to be evaluating this current squad and saving up for the winter transfer window. The Union are doing okay, thanks to MLS’s parody. They are three points out of a playoff spot and are fighting with teams sitting five through ten for the last two playoff spots in the east. Get ready for an interesting end of the season Union fans.
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Follow me on twitter @TGing21 for Soccer Twitter fun! Coming soon: A look back at what the Gold Cup win means for USA’s future, A look at the Union’s big win vs FC Dallas, and a look at the road to the playoffs for teams five through ten in the east. Until then, Peace out!
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports