The Union signed Bosnian international Haris Medunjanin Tuesday. Medunjanin is a tall center midfielder who can play the ball to any spot he wants on the field. The union haven’t had anyone like this since Vincent Nogueira left the team last summer. The Union have found the number eight they needed!
The 6′ 1″ 31-year-old can be best described as a player who loves to control possession. He looks to come deep to get the ball from center backs to start the attack. He sits deep like a quarterback looking for receivers down field. When he finds his target, he doesn’t just stay in front of the defense. Medunjanin pushes forward to get into the play after he plays the ball. Which shows the difference between him and Nog’s.
Nogueira was great at being the Union’s “quarterback”. He’d find players down the field, but wouldn’t always move forward with the play. He did go forward every once in a while, and when he did this happened:
When the Union lost Nogueira they lost a playmaker who could distribute the ball and dictate the pace of the game. With Medunjanin, they have that player again. They got that, and then some! The Bosnian midfielder has a killer instinct; he is very good moving forward, and has a killer left boot. He’s also a long distance specialist.
His attacking prowess, and ability to hit a second ball that bounces outside of the box, is a great asset for the Union. They have lacked that attacking player that sits deeper when attacking. Medunjanin brings that second chance to the Union. A player who is always lurking, waiting for the ball to pop out of the box so he can strike. The midfielder is also a menace when it comes to free kicks/set pieces.
The Ability to strike a free kick, place it perfectly, and have speed on the ball is something Medunjanin has! He can shoot from any angle he wants, and he’ll be able to find the target he’s looking for. Think of Giovinco as a compassion, the Italians precision when taking free kicks has been unprecedented in MLS. Now, Giovinco has some competition with Medunjanin’s skill. But, it’s not only his ability to shoot from these positions that is impressive.
His service from free kicks, and corners is something to marvel at. He will pick his spot and place the ball perfectly to it. The Union have someone who can take every set piece for them in Medunjanin. His distribution is key on these set pieces, but it’s also prevalent in the run of play as well.
Medunjanin’s game is really based around the possession, as stated earlier, but he usually keeps the possession going by distributing the ball all over the field. He can come onto the ball around midfield, and ping a ball to either winger on the channel outside of the opposing box. His distribution is one thing, but the way he puts himself in position to make passes is another.
Medunjanin has played all across Europe as a professional and plays internationally. He was a part of the Netherlands Under 21 team that won the 2006 U-21 UEFA European Championship. Now, he represents Bosnia and Herzegovina earning 55 caps, he played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup where he played against the likes of Messi! Haris will bring all of this experience to the Union
Like I stated before, Medunjanin will drop deep, between the two center backs at times, to receive the ball and start the possession. Because of this he’s the player the Union have needed at that central midfield role. Medunjanin is an upgraded Nogueira; without Nog’s, the Union fell apart after such a promising start. With this new addition the Union have solidified the center of the midfield. Now the Union can (will) play Bedoya as the 10, and with a healthy Edu at the six the Union look to have an experienced/solid center of the field. This move takes the Union from just an eastern conference playoff team, to a contender to play in the eastern conference final!
The Union have addressed a major spot with this signing, and while the transfer window is now closed, they may not be done with signing players! Fafa Picault, and Adam Najem are still on trial with the Union, and if signed could make the roster even deeper! Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network later this week to see more news on the Union’s preseason down in Florida, the USMNT final friendly versus Jamaica, and the future preseason games to come. Until then, peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports