Nothing happens in a vacuum. A butterfly flapping his wings in Taipei causes a windstorm in Tunisia and all of that. A report in a French paper saying Icelandic center forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson will leave FC Nantes for MLS will cause quite a storm here in Philadelphia - especially when mlssoccer.com's Matt Doyle says he thinks it could be the Union who are the unnamed MLS team. Will this be the storm that puts Philadelphia over the top - or just another whirlwind rumor that misses us completely?
Why this will happen
Sigthorsson is an Earnie Stewart player. Not only is Stewart familiar with him from when they were both in the Eredivisie, Sigthorsson is also a player who is perhaps undervalued by the market and could be flipped for a significant profit. Sigthorsson was sold to Nantes from Ajax for €3.5 million, however his loan to Turkish giants Galatasaray was disastrous. He failed to appear in a single match, suffering a knee injury just days after going on loan. This most likely will cause his market value to drop, yet at just 26 he has plenty of time to rehab and regain his previous form.
Sigthorsson also fills a position of need for the Union. A 6'1" center forward, he is big enough to hold his own against lumbering MLS center backs (unlike the smaller forwards the Union have been linked to previously). And perhaps most importantly, the Union find themselves in a position they haven't ever been in before - being cash flush and buyers in a buyer's market. With the training facilities and practice fields finished, the Union have no known infrastructure needs for the first time in club history. This will allow Jay Sugarman (who just sold $1.2 million in iStar stock) and company to have the freedom to open the checkbook. They have at least one Designated Player slot open , possibly two if they take some of the newly released Targeted Allocation Money and buy down Maurice Edu's contract (which would allow the Union to sign another DP without paying the fee for a third DP).
Why this won't happen
It's important to remember that this is based off of one report, and no team is named specifically. MLS' Matt Doyle, who freely admitted in his article that it was "just a theory and I have zero inside info." Also, $1.2 million is a far cry from the $3-4 million the Union would ostensibly need just to land Sigthorsson. While his value has most certainly dropped from what Nantes paid to Ajax, you have to imagine his transfer price would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2-2.5 million. That's still a lot of money for a team that has historically been reluctant to put forth a large capital investment on a player - no matter how good the player is. Will the ownership be willing to gamble more money than it has ever invested into a player in the belief that he'll be able to produce for a couple of seasons and be sold on for more than was paid out?