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Swiss winger linked to Union

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Are the Union about to announce their first signing of the window?

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Union have joined the handful of clubs rumored to be in pursuit of Tranquillo Barnetta. The Swiss international is available on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract with Schalke 04.

Blick, a prominent Swiss newspaper, is reporting that Leicester City, Watford, and Barnetta's boyhood club, St. Gallen, are all interested in the winger. Blick also goes on to mention the possibility of Barnetta signing his next contract in America, but a specific team is not mentioned.

Blick is also reporting that St. Gallen has offered their former player roughly $370,000 a year.

Estadio Deportivo, a Seville-centric soccer website, talked to Barnetta's agent, who denied interest from Leicester and a trio of Spanish clubs: Real Betis, Real Sociedad, and Málaga. Wolfgang Voege, the player's agent, further clarified his client's transfer situation on Tuesday:

"Tomorrow, we are going to Philadelphia to consider an offer from MLS, but we also have other offers from Italy, Germany, England, and Spain."

If these reports are to be believed, talks between Barnetta and the Union are fairly advanced. The Union are capable of outbidding St. Gallen, and the recent announcement of Targeted Allocation Money means that they can pay him significantly more without using a Designated Player slot.

Barnetta, 30, is a right-footed left winger, but he's capable of playing anywhere in the attacking midfield. He has made 75 appearances for Switzerland's national team, which is the second-highest total among active players. Barnetta has been part of his country's squad for the past three World Cups, making the shortlist for the Best Young Player Award in 2006's edition of the competition.

The winger, who was previously a teammate of Jermaine Jones at Schalke, has spent most of his career with Bayer Leverkusen. From 2004 to 2012, Barnetta made nearly 200 league appearances for the Bundesliga club.