The word from the club earlier today was that Barnetta had gone back to his homeland to mull over his options.
Chris Albright says Tranquillo Barnetta returned to Switzerland to decide his future. Says team is "cautiously optimistic" he'll sign.— Dave Zeitlin (@DaveZeitlin) July 29, 2015
He's a quick muller, it seems.
Rumors of Barnetta's signing have swirled for weeks. Early reports said that the player rejected a contract offer from the Union after coming to Philadelphia to meet with the team. But after a few weeks of relative silence on the Union's end as top-flight European teams stepped up their pursuits of Barnetta, the player popped up at Union training.
Tranquillo Barnetta is indeed here at Union training. pic.twitter.com/nlywDKLGHZ— Kevin Kinkead (@KevinKCBS3) July 24, 2015
Rumors only intensified after his appearance, eventually culminating in this report, which all but confirms his signing.
Wahl is reporting that the Union will use targeted allocation money to put Barnetta's cap hit below the Designated Player threshold.
There were question marks as to whether or not the Union had the roster flexibility to finalize this move. After the Union traded Sheanon Williams and an international spot to the Houston Dynamo for allocation money, there didn't seem to be any room for another foreign signing. To facilitate the move, one of the seven players (Aristeguieta, Vitoria, Fabinho, Ayuk, Maidana, Mbolhi, Nogueira) either received a green card, as has been rumored, or has been moved, whether that be through a trade or via mutual contract termination. An additional trade to acquire another international spot is also a possibility.
Barnetta has made 75 appearances for Switzerland's national team, some of which have come during the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups. His last contract was with Schalke 04 of the German Bundesliga.
Update: The Union have officially announced the signing of Tranquillo Barnetta. It was first reported by Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated.
Technical Director Chris Albright was understandably excited to finalize the deal, one that has been rumored for weeks, and has probably been in the works for much longer.
"To add a player of Tranquillo's quality will help us tremendously in what we're trying to build," Albright said. "He's a player with a real pedigree who chose to continue his career here in Philadelphia over other options. His experience and leadership will also be a great addition to our group as we push for the playoffs and make a run at The Open Cup."