News broke earlier this month of New England Revolution playmaker Lee Nguyen’s desire for a trade. Given the Union’s years-long desire for a top playmaker, Philadelphia immediately popped up as a reasonable destination for the 31-year-old. But should the Union be looking to bring in Nguyen?
Why it’s a good idea
There haven’t been many MLS playmakers more productive in recent years than Nguyen. Since entering the league in 2012, he’s posted 53 goals and 52 assists. Only the prolific Sacha Kljestan has recorded more assists than him over the past three seasons, and only Diego Valeri has done the same over the past six seasons. Plus, Nguyen’s production has mainly come in Jay Heaps’ 4-2-3-1, a very similar system to the one the Union employs.
His salary is very reasonable, which is important when considering any potential Union transaction. Last season Nguyen only made $500,000 in base salary and guaranteed compensation. He barely surpasses the Designated Player threshold at that number, meaning that the Union could easily buy down his cap hit to a sub-DP level should they sign two other DPs (they won’t). According to the original report from Sam Stejskal, Nguyen’s contract includes club options for 2019 and 2020, so there’s no risk of him bolting after the season.
Why it’s a bad idea
At 31, Nguyen still has a few top-level seasons left in him, but he’s neither a long-term solution nor an investment à la Miguel Almirón, in that the Union won’t be able to sell him for profit in a few years.
The biggest issue is timing. Trading for Lee Nguyen would be a win-now move for a team that looks years away from competing for Supporters’ Shields or MLS Cups. The Union had one of the oldest rosters heading into 2017, and their first team was the oldest over the course of the season. It might actually be time to play the kids, and sign kids to play if needed. Lee Nguyen would just be another aging addition to an old, ineffective core.
What would it cost to get him?
Stejskal says that New England doesn’t want to move him, which is the main difference between a proposed Nguyen deal and the recent Sacha Kljestan trade that saw New York receive two players in exchange for Kljestan and allocation money. Nguyen would likely command at least a few hundred thousand in allocation money, but the addition of a player could sweeten the pot.
The Union are fairly deep at center back, and with rumors that they’re looking to acquire more, Richie Marquez and Josh Yaro could be on the trading block. The Revs let up 61 goals last season, a total only made less embarrassing by the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 67 and Minnesota United’s 70. Of the five defenders on New England’s roster, only two are center backs: Antonio Delamea Mlinar and Claude Dielna, who joined the club in January. While Marquez or Yaro wouldn’t walk into the first team, they’d provide cover at a position where the Revs have none.
What do you think? Should the Union trade for Lee Nguyen? Take our poll and sound off in the comments!
Should the Union trade for Lee Nguyen?
This poll is closed
No, he’s too old
No, look for a #10 from outside MLS