Last week we reported on Maurice Edu’s latest episode of employer limbo, as his loan period with Philadelphia Union came to an end. In a normal situation, Edu would return to Stoke City but it appears that Stoke have no interest in bringing back the versatile American international – even though he his contracted through the end of the season.
written by – Eugene Rupinski
Maurice Edu was a very valuable asset for the Union this past season. He was a leader both on & off of the field for the club during a difficult time (Philadelphia finished seven points out of a playoff spot), & really helped hold the club together.
His versatility was also huge due to the instability at center back for a good portion of the year.
I think the only issue with his play this year was that Maurice is much better at central defensive midfielder than at center back & I would have much rather seen him in the midfield, but that’s not a knock on him as he plays where the manager tells him to play.
Philadelphia’s manager, Jim Curtin, discussed Edu’s deployment with Dave Zeitlin of MLS’ official website back in September. “Mo’s a top player in our league.”
“He’s been doing everything we’ve asked and more. He’s become a vocal leader in the locker room. He’s confident right now, whether it’s the midfield or center back. He’s as versatile as they get and he’s playing as well as anyone in MLS.”
Curtin acknowledged that flipping from position to position, “is not an easy thing to do.”
Edu said all of the right things in the same article. “If I was asked to play right back, if I was asked for whatever reason to play in goal, I would do it.”
“The same can be said for everyone on this team because we believe in what we’re trying to accomplish here. And at the end of the day, you’re doing this for the team. It’s not about your personal preference; it’s about accomplishing something greater than yourself.”
“Obviously the position is different, so when you’re on the backline, you can’t take as many risks.”
“If you make a mistake there, then the player is basically in one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It’s just about making sure you’re always alert, always aware of what’s going on in the game and just being as vocal as you can with your teammates.”
As far as the switch to Philadelphia being permanent, it all remains to be seen.
An in-form Carlos Valdes should pair nicely with either Maurice or the resurgent Ethan White. There also might be a slot at CDM opening for him if Amobi Okugo looks for greener pastures in Europe, which he has been hinting he might do as his contract expires at the end of the year.
Either way, the Union are a much better team with Maurice on it.
Edu was a Designated Player last season & the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union is set to expire at midnight on January 1, 2015.
There are a couple schools of thought with this – the Union could try & lock Edu in on a salary before the agreement expires in an attempt to try to get him on a less expensive contract, or the negotiations could be drawn out until after the new CBA is in place.
This is a bit of a crapshoot, since no one is really sure what the new one will look like thanks to a huge infusion of television money. Possibilities include more designated player spots (currently each team can have no more than 3 DP’s), a higher minimum wage for players (currently $36,500 per year), or higher DP threshold (currently $387,500 per year), or possibly some combination of those (or other) factors.
So there’s a lot of moving parts with this whole situation. Rest assured, there are a lot of people here in Philadelphia that will be watching this situation closely during this offseason.
I haven’t heard much else about his club status beyond the usual, “I want to stay but it’s out of my hands” sound byte.
I think Philadelphia is a much better place for him right now – it’s better to be a star in MLS than ride the pine in the EPL – so I think both he and the Union will try and negotiate something.
I don’t know how much leverage Stoke has in the situation – MLS requires all loan contracts to have an option to buy, so chances are there’s a set price in place already.
My gut feeling is that Stoke will overlook the season he had here & instead focus on him missing out on the United States National Team for the World Cup ¬ really want him back. It’s their loss, really.