The Philadelphia Union has made it through the January Transfer window and has lost no important players. There were rumors of two or three being chased by bigger clubs, but none came to an agreement with Philly to get a transfer done. Now The Union has 25 days to prepare their squad for the start of the 2022 season. Is this the beginning of a championship run for Philadelphia?
Union unscathed; Its time to win now
The Union is returning the majority of its 2021 roster. The only players not coming back are those who were out of contract, and those who wouldn’t re-sign with the club. This includes:
- Greg Ranjitsingh (signed with Toronto FC)
- Alvas Powell (signed with FC Cincinatti)
- Aurelien Collin (un-signed, but still listed as rostered on the Union’s website)
- Ilsinho (un-signed, but still listed as rostered on the Union’s website)
- Anthony Fontana ( completing move to Italian Serie B side Ascoli Calcio)
The biggest loss from that list of players would be Anthony Fontana. He was out of favor and lacked playing time, he’s now going to be playing in Italy in Serie B with Ascoli Calcio. Every other player from last season is coming back. This Union team is ready to win, and win now, but how close was Philly to losing some important players?
No key players transferring out
The Union has been a club that has generated more following by European teams. As MLS has grown into the selling league that it is, and the Union has continued to have a progression of success year-over-year, it makes sense that bigger European clubs would be interested in Philadelphia Union players. The player with the most rumors flying around was Union left back Kai Wagner.
The 24-year-old defender has produced at a high level since joining the Union. His attacking skill has helped him become an All-star and generated more teams taking a flyer on him. Luckily for the Union, no legitimate offers came in for the German left back; however, if he continues to play at a high-level Wagner could be off to Europe this summer.
Other players who were looked at, but no real offers came in were for talented midfielders Jamiro Monteiro, and Jose “El Brujo” Martinez. Both players have developed into stars for the Union and MLS. Monteiro was one of the first big-money signing the Union made to become the contender they are, while El Brujo was another Ernst Tanner special. Monteiro and Martinez have become mainstays in the Union’s starting XI as well as their national teams (Cape Verde & Venezuela.) Should they continue to play well with the Union, there’s no doubt legitimate offers will come Philly’s way for them.
The Union went unscathed in this transfer window, which means something important; it’s time to win now!
Philly A true contender for 2022
Since the Union are returning their starting goalkeeper, defense, and midfield, and have added two DP strikers to the team, the Union should be able to be competitive from match one to match 34. They made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final with their elite goalkeeping and defense in 2021. The problem last season was the inconsistency in goal-scoring. There was no ruthless finisher. That should change in 2022.
The Union traded their leading goal scorer from the past three seasons in Kacper Przybylko and brought in young DP Julian Caranza on loan from Inter Miami, and paid a club-record fee for Mikael Uhre from the Danish Superligaen. They are tasked with teaming up to create a lethal attack in front of an elite goalkeeper and defense, and an engine room midfield. It may take a few games to get going, but on paper, this team should be in the conversation for the top of the east, and maybe even top of MLS in 2022.
Union Sporting Director, Ernst Tanner, has made it clear. The goal is to win MLS Cup in 2022. He has the players now to do that. Union Head Coach, Jim Curtin now has the task to get these players to play at that championship claiber. With 25 days left ahead of the season, the players have a short amount of time to prepare for the start of 2022. However, this team is now constructed and ready for the challenge of taking the next step in the Union’s evolution; become a perennial power in MLS and win the whole damn thing.
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH