Earlier, I posted 5 of 10 players available this January that could help the Union this year. Most of those players are currently based in European clubs like Fulham, West Ham and Liverpool. If those names made you chuckle or scoff, this next group will double the reaction. These are players that have been well above the quality of the MLS for many years and in some cases still may be but they are available and with all of the silliness going on with Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley, both the MLS league dynamic and the Philadelphia Union team dynamic that we have been accustomed to are changing. I mean, look at all the speculation about Xavi leaving Barcelona for the recently named 2015 NYFC. This ain't your dad's MLS. So let's dream a little and speculate a lot and look at 5 more players from Europe who are being shopped for transfer that Philadelphia could splash on.
6.) Andrea Pirlo - Playmaking Midfielder - Pirlo's time in Italy is just about up and in fact, this may be his last window in Europe. That doesn't mean that the Italian legend is done. There are plenty of up and coming teams in growing leagues that would love to have a playmaker like Pirlo. Juventus is keen to move the aging footballer and moving west seems like an inevitable end game for many European players, Pirlo will likely be no different. It's a big splash that's out of character for Philly but so are some of the moves that have happened this week following the Toronto FC transfer cannonball last week. For what he brings, the Union can likely get value for the playmaker but the question is, as a deeper playing attacking midfield, can he coexist with Edu or Okugo playing defensive midfield?
Chances: Unlikely but I wouldn't rule it out totally.
7.) Dimitar Berbatov - Striker - Fulham is in jeopardy of being relegated and Berbatov is being shopped. There are some rumors of interest from Arsenal and if they are true, there's no way the Union compete with Arsenal's spending power. He's 32 and he'll want a big payday to move to MLS. The Union are already being told my MLS what they can and can't spend and they're not known to spend the kind of DP money that Berbatov would command. However, the Union traded Jeff Parke and are pushing to sign Edu. At this point, seeing them trade away a couple of strikers and bringing in Berbatov up top would be shocking but not impossible.
Chances: It would move mountains.
8.) Roberto Rosales - Right Back/Midfield - The young Venezuelan is on the market according to FC Twente. The problem is that he is widely coveted by many European clubs. His position as a versatile Right Back mirrors that of Fabinho and Sheanon Williams. Buying him would take $3-$4 million and he would push Williams out of position. This is an unlikely deal for a number of reasons but given the landscape of MLS today, it's not impossible to see Rosales come west.
Chances: Not going to happen.
9.) John Terry - Center Back - Like Frank Lampard, John Terry has been linked to MLS and according to sources, Terry has been given leave to seek a transfer. Terry is closing in on the end of his career and a big money move west could be in the near future. The Union have brought in a young CB and traded Jeff Parke in an effort, apparently, to sign Maurice Edu. If Edu is to play Defensive Midfield (signaling the end for Brian Carroll), there could be room to bring in Terry as a veteran CB alongside Okugo.
Chances: Can't rule almost anything out this year but the amount of money that Terry will want is way more than the Union ownership would pay out. The fans would love it but I wouldn't hold my breath.
10.) Diego - Attacking Midfielder - Diego is playing at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, a team that is very much still in contention for a European slot and perhaps even Champions League. He's playing but he's been linked with a number of clubs as a transfer possibility. There's a lot of European interest in the 28 year old Brazlian's skills but if teams in MLS raise their quality, could he come west? With teams like Arsenal and Atletico Madrid rumored to be in the conversation for a Diego transfer, the possibilities are remote. But we can dream can't we?
Chances: Maybe in 5 years.
That's my list. Maybe I should have titled this list, "Pipe Dream Picks". I admit that most of them are pipe dreams or perhaps wishful thinking at best but then, that's what the January transfer window is about here as it falls during our off season. Much like the European summer transfer window, we look to January as our chance to see where our league and teams will splash the cash.