It's always Kevin Kinkead stirring up trouble. Why do you have to torture us, Kevin!?! The CBS 3 correspondent revealed information last week in the series of vague tweets and also a more specific appearance on Soccer Morning last Wednesday that suggest the Philadelphia Union are in a bad way financially (And I won't get into the tirade unleashed early Tuesday morning). Not to say they are broke, but they routinely hogtie themselves in a strange way in regards to loan deals and not being able to add players without selling players.
There is no secret in Union circles that Philadelphia plays "moneyball" (I hate using that term) about as well as a mouse plays with a trap. The most recent Union transfer snafu involved both Rais M'Bohli and Young DP striker Fernando Aristeguieta. There is a wait and see game that is publicly acknowledged that until M'Bohli gets shipped out to Turkey or wherever the wind takes him, the Union cannot make any moves due to their funding being tied up in player transactions. This normally wouldn't be a problem or a surprise, but after news that the Union had to make a decision to either purchase or extend the loan of Fernando Aristeguieta, which in an interview with Philly Soccer Page he revealed that he is staying, it creates uncertainty for the Union. Oh and by the way, The Union never officially announced his loan was only for a half season. Go figure!
The remarkable thing about Union transfers is that they are generally tedious and have a better than average chance at failing spectacularly. With Fernando, the Union will most likely have had to break the bank to keep a player with a slightly below average finishing rate who has been beat up all season. The re-emergence of CJ Sapong hasn't exactly caused a rise in Aristguieta's stock. All of this is not ideal for sure, but can I really complain about the Union needing to splash the cash on a forward, something the Union rarely have done in their short history.
The issue that I have with all of that is the Union's roster is about as deep as a kiddie pool and breaking the bank for one player in a position the Union are arguably the deepest in might not be worth it. To have a player of Aristegueita's quality is never a bad thing, but it makes things awkward given the Union's stylistic choices and formation.
I worry about the Union having two strikers with the quality of Sapong and Aristeguieta simply because the Union don't use two strikers. Jim Curtin hasn't really shown the interest in experimenting with too much outside the global standard of 4-2-3-1, and I have no gripes with a proven formation. Jim Curtin's Union would have to put out both Sapong and Aristeguieta on the field at the same time and in doing so while maintaining the desired shape requires Sapong to move out wide. I cannot protest this enough. Playing as a winger is the same position that saw Sapong fall out of favor with Sporting Kansas City, and he will most likely not produce with the same success he has had in recent games.
If the Union were creative and willing to try something, why not play a two striker system? Perhaps a 4-2-2-2? Now I know the tactical decisions of the team and how they line up are two different things. The Union, however, clearly need their best performing player on the field (Sapong) and if they splash the cash on a guy like Aristeguieta he won't just be hanging out on the bench.
Sapong can be the workhorse to hold the play up for Cristian Maidana or Vincent Nogueira while Aristeguieta loses the burden of needing to be the punching bag for the league's center backs. This suits both players up top as Aristeguieta doesn't have the physical attributes to bang on a regular basis (as shown by his propensity for injury). Sapong on the other hand is very capable of battling and shows terrific aerial ability.
Philadelphia could save their money that they are seeming to get from an M'Bohli transfer, and maybe grab some much needed depth literally anywhere on the field. (anyone have some wide midfielders available?) I don't mark the Union for doing something sensible in their player transactions and given their current "dire financial situation" I feel I have some ground to stand on here.
Expect the Union to offload M'Bohli, but with having brought back Aristeguieta they will be stuck in their own muck for the rest of the summer transfer window. The only thing we're missing is a Carlos Valdes' transfer saga, am I right?