UPDATE: Jim Curtin said Wednesday that Uhre still hasn’t not received his P-1 visa and it’s looking less likely Uhre will be available for Week 1 of the season. Twelve international player acquisitions were announced the same week as Uhre in late January and so far all but two — Uhre and Sporting Kansas City’s Marinos Tzionis — have joined their new teams.
With the season opener 17 days away, the status of the Philadelphia Union’s prized offseason acquisition remains up in the air.
Mikael Uhre, who the Union acquired for a reported $2.8 million fee from Brøndby IF in his native Denmark, signed with the team on January 27 but is still awaiting finalization of his visa to officially join the group in Florida.
“I hope he gets here as soon as possible,” head coach Jim Curtin said in a Zoom call with media on Wednesday afternoon. “But, you know, we also have to have a contingency plan with the visa process in case it does take longer.”
Curtin said it could be as soon as Monday that the 27-year-old Danish Golden Boot winner or it could be longer. He said the paperwork has been submitted on their end and they’re just waiting for everything to be finalized.
“We’ve done everything on our side; we’re just kind of in a waiting game,” Curtin said.
The Union open their season at home on February 26 against Minnesota United FC. They’ll scrimmage Union II ahead of their final preseason tune-up against Nashville SC on February 18 before flying home to Philadelphia.
Even with the delay bringing Uhre in the front line appears to be in decent shape with the addition of Young DP Julian Carranza pairing with Sergio Santos and Cory Burke back with the team from international break. Carranza and Burke each scored in the first two preseason matches.
“Carranza and Santos have something developing that looks pretty special,” Curtin said. “Obviously Uhre will come in and and do a great job for us as well and then Cory Burke last night was excellent and worked his tail off so when you have four strikers of this quality, it gets me excited.”
Curtin has also given minutes at forward to 15-year-old academy prospect Bajung Darboe and 16-year-old academy and Union II striker Nelson Pierre.
“The clock is ticking toward the February 26 date and we’re fine as a team if he’s not here, but certainly as the head coach, we want to our best players here and Mikael is certainly going to be one of those,” Curtin said.