Philadelphia Union Technical Director Chirs Albright and Head Coach Jim Curtin sat down for a conference with the media on Monday to discuss their off-season plans and strategy for Thursday's MLS SuperDraft. The duo gave some hints to their plans for the draft in addition to some potential information on off-season signings.
Curtin and Albright addressed the recent reports about the signing of Maurice Edu to a permanent contract. They didn't confirm the deal, but gave some useful information on his potential position if he does sign with the club
Until we finally have Mo as our player, I will refrain from the future. But from the past, you guys know what position I played him at. I had an end of the year meeting with him and we discussed where our team had success from where he played. So you can come to a conclusion from that if we have Mo back.
Albright also addressed rumors linking Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan to the Union.
As far as players of Sacha's caliber, we're always going to be interested in players of that quality. I think we're not going to get into speaking of specific players that we're targeting. But obviously Sacha's resume speaks for itself and I think he'll be a great addition for MLS wherever he winds up.
Right now, the Union's first selection would be thirty-first, which the tenth pick of the second round. Curtin expressed willingness to move up in the draft if the price is right:
I’ll be blunt, we have two guys we are debating on moving up in this draft and at positions we need. If the price is too high, we won’t do it. It might be packaging a player and allocation money. Or a few draft picks. It’s a thing we’re looking at and there are a lot of variables that go into it. But it will be down to the wire to make the decision.
Curtin also stated that the team is actively looking to select a left back, especially if one happens to fall to them later in the draft.
Our clear idea is to take the best available position. Obviously if one of the key positions falls to us and a guy we’re shocked falls to us at the left back spot, we’re going to do it.
Albright also fielded a question on the possibility of more Homegrown Players signing with the club.
As Jay [Sugarman] said, from the top-down, it’s something we’re committed to. We want to get them to be contributors to our first team.
But we’re probably going to have some academy guys with us at preseason as well. We’re going to do a better job integrating the guys with our first team in order to be able to evaluate their readiness at the MLS level
While this press conference was not all that exciting, it did hold some clues as to what the Union's plans may be moving forward. If you read between the lines a bit, Albright and Curtin seemed confident that Edu would sign with the club on a permanent basis. Curtin even went as far as too hint that Edu would likely be playing at center back if he is with the club come pre-season. Assuming Curtin sticks with the formation he used last year, the team would probably be in the market for another defensive midfielder.
It's not surprising that Albright danced around the question regarding the potential signing of Kljestan. Any potential move for the midfielder is a long way from being complete, there are trades that would likely need to be made in addition to having to beat out two of the richer clubs in MLS, the New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy. But Albright praised Kljestan's skill and said how he would like to see him sign in MLS.
So what are your thoughts on the press conference? Do you like the idea of Edu at center back? Should the team focus on signing a defensive midfielder this off-season? Have your say in the comment section below.