Midfielder Eric Ayuk has been sort of an enigma since the start of the preseason for the Philadelphia Union, in part because of his time with the Cameroon team in the U20 African Cup of Nations.
But it may also be that the 20-year-old is on loan in Europe.
Ayuk is listed as “on loan” on the Philadelphia Union’s roster on MLSSoccer.com, a status that isn’t given to players who will likely spend time this season on short-term loans with Bethlehem Steel FC like Marcus Epps, Adam Najem and Jack Elliott.
The fourth-year pro also hasn’t been seen with Steel FC at all in the preseason and his above-the-minimum salary (listed at $62,500 in figures released in September) makes him ineligible for the season-long loan to USL option. This appears to be occupied by rookie defender Aaron Jones, who is also listed as “on loan” on the roster.
Both loans would explain how the Union are managing their international roster spots, which stand at 11 when counting all players on the first team roster.
With Ayuk and Jones listed as unavailable and Josh Yaro on the disabled list, the eight available international slots are filled by Roland Alberg, Andre Blake, Jack Elliott, Fabian Herbers, Haris Mendunjanin, Ilsinho, Jay Simpson and Giliano Wijnaldum.
If Ayuk is out on loan, Sweden is a possible location as this report from February references interest from first division club Jönköping Södra IF.
A request for comment from the Union was not returned on Wednesday.
Ayuk joined the Union in 2015 via loan as a Discovery Signing and had a pair of goals in 28 appearances for the first team, but has only made one appearance since then. He had three goals in 17 appearances for Bethlehem Steel in the USL last season.