It's finally officially official - Maurice Edu has left Stoke City permanently for the Philadelphia Union.
The Union announced earlier today that the twenty-eight year old defensive midfielder and center back has been officially transferred from Stoke. Per MLS rules, no terms were disclosed, however Edu did make a statement about his more permanent home. "I am happy to be here in Philadelphia and with the Union," Edu said. "I am surrounded by good talent and club that I believe I can do great things with. This is a new season and a clean slate and I am ready to get after it. We are looking to right a lot of the wrongs from last season and I think with that full season under our belt and many of us coming back, we are all focused on achieving great things this season."
Now that Edu is signed, Union fans have another piece to add to the puzzle to imagine this season's lineup. Earlier this week, Jim Curtin address where Edu, if signed, would most likely play. "You guys know what position I played him at in the past," said Curtin. "I had an end of the year meeting with him and we discussed where our team had success and where he played, so, you can infer… you can come to a conclusion on that if Mo is the guy we have back."
Jim Curtin is referring to the fact that he played Maurice Edu primarily at center back, where he played thirteen times in Curtin's eighteen games as coach. The Union did have a much better record defensively with him there, allowing 0.7 fewer goals per game. However, the team's offensive output also dropped by nearly as much. So it's tough to say how much the Union were actually better off.
But if Curtin's goal is to have Edu and Valdes pair as center back, which certainly does sound enticing, there is still a gap to be filled at defensive midfield. The loss of Amobi Okugo leaves Michael Lahoud as the only player on the roster with solid experience at that position. While Lahoud came on nicely last season you have to imagine the Union will address that need in the coming weeks.
While questions still dangle in the tournefortia, the Union fans can now look forward to what could be a very solid back line, anchored by two players with World Cup experience. It's a great step by the Union toward building a long term winner.