Union fans play GM: look for new center back targets

On Thursday (Jan. 7th, 2021) Ernst Tanner let slip in a press conference that the Union is close to singing a left-footed center back. With the preparation for the 2021 season just around the corner, this news got Union fans abuzz with a possible new player. Many Union fans play GM whenever during the offseason, which got us thinking.

Union fans play GM
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

We at Philly Sports Network love to engage with fans. This press conference announcement by Ernst Tanner presented a fun opportunity to take a look at the players the Union fan GMs wanted their club to target. So we took to Twitter to ask fans who would they target for this incoming center back?

Union fans play GM

Here’s a look at the responses we got from our Union fan GM’s. Thank you so much to all who engaged with us! We’ll expand on each player and discuss if they are a good fit/are a sensible signing for the club!

Tim Ream

USMNT center back Tim Ream was the most targeted by the fans who responded. This left-footed center back would bring a great veteran presence to this Union squad. Ream’s experience with the men’s national team and the English Premier League could translate well to MLS. His being American would also help for roster construction!

His valuation of $1.32 million is in the Union’s ballpark right now. Could we see that Ernst Tanner was talking about Tim Ream as the soon-to-be signed player?

David Alaba

  • Target comes from @brianwagner1234 (dream player)
  • Current club Bayern Munich.
  • 28-year-old left-footed center back.
  • Valued at $71.5 million.

There were many responses to our question that were responded to with dream players; players that fans would love to see in the blue and gold. This suggestion is one of those.

David Alaba is an amazing left-footed center back for Bayern Munich. His extremely high valuation and likely high salary means the Union is likely not taking a flyer on Alaba right now.

Juan Jesus

  • Target comes from @brianwagner1234
  • Current club AS Roma.
  • 29-year-old left-footed center back.
  • Valued at $2.75 million.

Another interesting target is Juan Jesus. The AS Roma player and Serie A veteran would be a welcome addition to Philly. This seasoned player would push for first-team minutes from the jump. But, his transition to America might take some time as we’ve seen from other foreign signings.

Jesus is valued at a reasonable $2.75 million. Knowing Ernst Tanner, if he wanted him, he’d likely find a way to get a great deal for the player. Will we see this European veteran in Chester in 2021?

Nicolás Demartini

  • Target comes from @jimcurtinburner
  • Current club CA Temperley (Argentina).
  • 21-year-old left-footed center back.
  • Valued at $990 thousand.

Nicolás is a player that was linked with the Union in the summer transfer window in 2020. He was also rumored to another club, but that move fell through. This is a sure-fire Ernst Tanner type of player.

His under $1 million valuation, and his rising status, make this player a great option. He would likely come in and take that bench/rotation role unless he out preforms Glesnes and Elliot. Will we see Demartini as a part of the Union in 2021?

Marcos Rojo

  • Target comes from @jimcurtinburner |@Cody_Ohh10
  • Current club Manchester United.
  • 30-year-old left-footed center back.
  • Valued at $6.60 million.

A Manchester United player coming to the Union? This would be a great addition for Philly, but there are some concerning factors.

Rojo doesn’t see much of the field for Man U, and while that might mean he’d want a move, a move to MLS may not be what he envisions. The higher valuation for a 30-year-old isn’t something I’d expect to see from Ernst Tanner, but I wouldn’t be mad about this signing!

Nathan Ake

  • Target comes from @therightEngle27
  • Current club Manchester City.
  • 25-year-old left-footed center back.
  • Valued at $44 million

I was very surprised to see Nathan Ake’s name pop up here. He was a standout at Bournemouth and got a move to Manchester City. His valuation of $44 million is nowhere near what the Union can pay right now.

This is likely a dream scenario type of player. It’d be amazing for a 25-year-old Ake to come to Philly. I’d freak out along with many Union fans if this came to fruition!

Cameron Carter-Vickers

  • Target comes from @UnionNut26
  • Current Club AFC Bournemouth.
  • 23-year-old right-footed center back.
  • Valued at $2.2 million.

Carter-Vickers is an interesting addition to this list. The young American has been on a carousel ride with loan stints in England. He’s recently coming off an injury, and featuring in a Bournemouth side that is fighting for promotion in the Championship.

Could the Union swipe him? His valuation isn’t too high, but he may be in a situation where he is too valuable to the club he’s on loan with currently.

Lukas Mhül

  • Target comes from @7_mcperson
  • Current club: FC Nuremberg.
  • 23-year-old right-footed center back.
  • Valued at $1.32 million.

Here come the German players! We all know Ernst has great connections with German clubs. He has a knack for finding players from lower divisions, like Kai Wagner. Could he pull Lukas Mhül from FC Nuremberg?

This young center back has a nice valuation and is an Ernst Tanner type of signing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mhül is the next lower division European player Ernst finds!

Timo Hübers

  • Target comes from @7_mcperson
  • Current club Hannover 96.
  • 24-year-old right-footed center back.
  • Valued at $1.32 million.

Tim Hübers is another player like Mhül playing in the 2 Bundesliga. His valuation is the same as well. A young player from a lower division is what Ernst likes to take note of.

Hübers and Mhül would be hungry if given the chance to play for the Union. Tanner would likely look to flip these players in few years as well, which would be a win-win!

Sergio Ramos

  • Target comes from @HulkUnionSmash|@ayoungleg
  • Current club: Real Madrid.
  • 34-year-old right-footed center back.
  • Valued at $15.4 million.

Hulky coming in from the top ropes! Sergio Ramos’ contract is up soon at Real Madrid. So if the Union did want to take a look at him the Summer would be a better time to do so.

However, Ramos’ salary would likely be so outrageous that Sugarman would need to sell his helicopter to afford it. We all know that’s not gonna happen.

Non center backs

  • Targets come from @7_mcperson
  • Kevin Großkreutz
  • No club.
  • 32-year-old right back.
  • Valued at $220 thousand.
  • Aaron Hunt
  • Current club: Hamburger SV.
  • 34-year-old CAM.
  • Valued at $550 thousand.

Shout out to to this fan who finds these second division/bargain German players! He incuded an older right back and attacking midfielder to the list!

A+ fan GMing here, but I doubt Ernst Tanner spends money on players older than 30. But who knows, I could be wrong!

Aurelien Collin

Shout out to Aurelien Collin’s number one fan, who just so happens to be my Wife. She wants to see Collin back as that depth center back, and quite honestly a lot of Union fans should want the same.

Union fan Mike Thomas made a great point about his returning as well. If Aurelien and the Union can come to terms on a short term-low salary contract. I think both sides should do it! Especially if Collin wants to be a coach post-playing career. The Union has a great track record of helping former players get coaching experience.

Trust Ernst Tanner

These two fans who commented win the award for Union fans who are not content to trust Ernst Tanner’s process!

Seriously, two years ago no fans would admit to trusting their sporting director, but Ernst has done an amazing job, and will have to continue to do that if the Union are to go next level!

Now we play the waiting game

Will we see one of your guesses be the next signing? We will have to wait for Tanner and the Union’s front office to finalize the deal! Ernst has said that he would like the club to be finalized before the start of the 2021 campaign.

Philly will have its hands full in 2021. CONCACAF Champions League and the start of another MLS season amidst Covid-19 is daunting. We’ve seen the players who are going to be leaving, now is the time for new blood to come into the team! Ernst Tanner said he was in Africa on Thursday, could he be looking for even more additions for 2021?

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Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire