As inconsistent (and frustrating) a team as the Philadelphia Union were in 2017, it’s hard not to be pleased with how Haris Medunjanin performed in his first season with the blue and gold.
He led the team in assists with 12 and had a pair of goals playing as a deep-lying midfielder in Jim Curtin’s double pivot in front of the back line. His calmness on the field, sportsmanship, approach to the game and that deadly left foot were all welcome additions to the club.
But rumored interest in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international from the second division in Germany begs the question of whether the Union should sell the 32-year-old with a year left on his contract and an option for a third year.
His body of work this year makes a solid case on its own to keep him, but there are a number of factors to consider when weighing this question.
The first goes by the name Derrick Jones. The 20-year-old academy grad made a big splash to start the season when he started and played well in his first team debut in the season opener at Vancouver Whitecaps. He went on to start the next four games but only started three more times and finished with 12 appearances through the rest of the season.
Part of the reason his minutes dried up had as much to do with the Alejandro Bedoya at the No. 10 experiment not working as it did Jones not making the most of his opportunity. His additional chances to play came only when Bedoya was away on international duty (Medunjanin started every game and played the full 90 in all but one) and back with Bethlehem Steel FC, where he ended up making a dozen starts.
If Jones is the future of the midfield, selling Medunjanin would open up a spot for him to start. Moving Bedoya out wide, where he’s played on international duty, would also get Jones on the field in a spot next to Medunjanin but that isn’t likely to happen under the current regime.
Jones, of course, isn’t the only young prospect on the team who could slot into the No. 8 position in the midfield. Both Adam Najem and Anthony Fontana are promising players who can play there and both need to be doing more than just backing up a No. 10 designated player the Union desperately need to acquire in the offseason.
Clearing Medunjanin’s salary (it was $505,008 guaranteed in 2017) would help make room for said acquisition of an attacking midfielder, providing a trade-off of a salary for a position the Union have surplus in for a position of real need. Jones, Najem and Fontana’s salaries were under $200,000 combined in 2017.
With any scenario that involves selling off one of your team’s best players, the numbers have to work and the offer has to be real in the first place but should a formal offer come for Medunjanin there is a compelling case for the Union to take it, sad as it would be to see such a classy and talented player go.
What do you think? Are the Union better off keeping or selling one of their star players? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.