— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) January 24, 2014
Another American international is returning to MLS, but this time he'll be playing regularly at PPL Park.
It has been reported through multiple sources that today the Philadelphia Union have signed 27 year old midfielder Maurice Edu, ending a near two week-long pursuit. The addition of Edu will surely bolster a midfield that was the Achilles heel of the team last season.
The rumors of Edu coming to Philadelphia started heating up 10 days ago when the Union traded Jeff Parke to DC United for defender Ethan White and the number one spot in the allocation order. It was widely speculated that the Union would use that top slot to sign Edu. However, a deal that would've given Edu a 1.2 million dollar yearly salary was nixed by MLS officials, forcing the Union to renegotiate for a lower salary with Edu. Last night former Union color announcer and current ESPN studio/color analyst Taylor Twellman reported last night that Union president Nick Sakiewicz was headed to England to settle the Edu contract.
Edu will reportedly earn a salary in "the mid-six figures" a far-cry from the 1.2 million the Union were ready to sign off on the 14th of January. He reportedly chose the Union and MLS over offers from clubs in the English Championship and Turkey.
Edu was selected by Toronto FC as the number one pick in the 2007 Superdraft out of the University of Maryland. He didn't disappoint, scoring four goals in 25 appearances and winning MLS Rookie of the Year in the process. Edu also earned his first USMNT cap that same season. In August 2008 he signed to Scottish Premier league club Glasgow Rangers for a nearly $4M transfer fee. Battling njuries for much of his first two years at Ibrox, Edu struggled to make the adjustment to European football. His fortunes changed for the better when he scored a memorable goal* against heated Auld Firm rival club Celtic to help secure Rangers the league title in 2010. He was a regular feature in the Rangers lineup after that point. In his four year career at Glasgow, Edu scored nine goals in 96 appearances.
*I highly recommend watching this video. It's not an impressive goal per se, but the Rangers faithful going nuts once Edu puts it in is purely magical.
After Rangers were forced into administration and relegated to the Scottish Third Division, Rangers sold Edu to Stoke City. He played once for the English Premier League club, and none since current manager Mark Hughes took over. Stoke loaned Edu out to Turkish side Bursaspor in early 2013, where he made 12 appearances.
Edu has also made 45 appearances for the United States national team but only three in the last twelve months. His most famous goal for the Americans was one that never counted; a potential match winner against Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup that was disallowed for no legitimate reason by referee Koman Coulibaly.
Edu is a central midfielder that has been described as a defensive midfielder in the past, but he has shown on occasion that he can be a box-to-box midfielder as well. The Union are another step closer to completely upgrading their midfield with Edu and Colombian midfielder Cristian "Chaco" Maidana. If French midfielder Vincent Nogueira can be brought in before the January 31st international deadline as is rumored, Philadelphia may have another playoff team to root for.