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Grafite "Would Love" To Sign With Philadelphia If The Union Come Calling

"Philly is a great city and if there is a chance to play there I would love to come," Grafite said, when asked what his response would be to a Union inquiry.

Alex Grimm

Peter Crouch, Frederic Nimani and Sebastien Le Toux are the Union's offseason targets, sources told the Brotherly Game last week, but there's another name which should join them, according to the player himself.


Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth said today, during his last press conference of 2012, that the team was pursuing a scoring and veteran presence at striker to complement the young forwards already on the club.

"That young group of attackers, they can only get better," Hackworth said. "We're looking to bring someone in to help them and the team get better."

Hackworth made it a point to say that the team will be limited to only players who were attainable or on the transfer block.

"You can only get what's out there and available," the typically soft spoken Hackworth said.

The 33-year-old striker would fit all of those needs, as Grafite has declared himself in search of a new "project" to start.

"Yes, it is true that I'm interested in playing in America," Grafite told in an October interview. "I don't know now because I have nine months left on my contract at my current club. My dream after is to come and play in America with Major League Soccer."

When Grafite talked to the Brotherly Game, he made it clear that Philadelphia would be a place he'd like to play.

"Philly is a great city and if there is a chance to play there I would love to come," Grafite said, when asked what his response would be to a Union inquiry.

As with many foreign players with interest of coming to America, Grafite mentioned his family as one of the reasons for why he'd like to move to a team in MLS and that the resettling process would not be difficult for him.

"In any event, if I come to the US would not be just because of the money," Grafite said, "it would be because of the project and if it is also good for me and my family. Here in Dubai I only speak English. I can also speak Portuguese, Spanish, French and German."

The former Wolfsburg star was adamant that he's still in good shape and can play at a high level, despite having turned 33-years-old earlier this year.

"I am in a great shape and I believe I can play in a top league for a few more year," Grafite said. "I still have a few good years left in me. I believe I can come to a team and help them with my goals. Last season, I scored 30 goals in 35 games."

"This year, I have 11 goals in 5 league games. In regards of the positioning, it depends on the team, the system and on the coach. However, I can adapt well to either playing as one striker or with two strikers."

Rumors have spread that Grafite has become bored with the UAE due to the aforementioned ease at which he has scored while in the Middle East. The former Brazilian international brushed off the speculation, choosing instead of compliment the young league's progression.

"I came here because of the project. It was very enticing and I embraced it," Grafite said. "The league here has just started a few years ago and they have a project to grow this league. That is why I came here, to help them achieve their objectives, to make the league more interesting.

"I came here along with some big names of world football. European football is more physical, the defense does not give one player too much space and tactically and technically is superior. However, with the addition of top players the level here is going to improve."

Grafite's sentiments on Middle Eastern soccer strike a similar tone to that of foreign players inside of another league: MLS.