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What will the Union midfield look like without Barnetta in 2017?

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With Tranquillo Barnetta going back to Switzerland next season, someone will have to step into his role.

Tranquillo Barnetta of the Philadelphia Union celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact.
Tranquillo Barnetta of the Philadelphia Union celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact.
Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

It’s never too early to plan ahead, and with the announced departure of Tranquillo Barnetta at the end of this season, I wanted to take a look at some options the Union had in the midfield in 2017. Now obviously a lot will change between now and then - a player may be selected during the Expansion Draft, someone may be put on waivers, the Union may sign someone either from MLS or abroad. But looking just at what they have right now may provide us a glimpse of what we can expect next season.

Alejandro Bedoya will be a critical piece of this puzzle. While signed to play the 8, he’s made his name playing both on the right wing as well as at central attacking midfielder - Barnetta’s soon to be vacant position. Bedoya played the 10 against Toronto FC this past weekend, scoring a golazo and keeping the Union on the attacking foot for the entire first half and a decent portion of the second. He would be a natural fit. The only issue is that it opens up a job at the 8, and the Union’s struggles with that position have been well documented this season. Perhaps the Union add that as a target during the offseason?

What becomes of Roland Alberg? The Dutch midfielder was seen by many to be the inevitable replacement for Barnetta at the 10 and has looked good in his many relief spells. He’s the club’s second leading scorer yet of his 25 appearances, only 12 were starts and he’s only gone 90 minutes twice. If Bedoya is kept at the 8 next to Maurice Edu, Warren Creavalle, or Brian Carroll then Alberg would be the favorite for the 10 position. If Bedoya moves to the 10, look for Alberg to retain his role as a bench option.

The Union do have Leo Fernandes available at the 10 however he’s only played in 12 games for the Union this year, spending most of his time with Bethlehem Steel FC. My opinion is that Fernandes is a decent depth option but should not be viewed as a solution at the 10 in 2017.

Who do you see as Barnetta’s replacement next season? Take our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments section below!