As soon as the 2014 MLS season ended, Union head coach Jim Curtin said that one of his top offseason priorities was convincing the team’s ownership to pay the necessary money to bring Maurice Edu back to Philly.
It looks like he got his wish.
Comcast SportsNet has confirmed a Philly.com report that the Union secured a transfer for Edu from Stoke City of the English Premier League and signed the U.S. national team veteran to a multi-year deal.
Curtin did not immediately respond to a text for comment, but the Union head coach has made his wishes known, saying in November that he “hopes [Edu] is in a Union jersey going forward and I think he will be.”
But the deal was always going to be a costly one because Edu had played the 2014 season in Philadelphia on a one-year loan from Stoke City, meaning the team would have to pay a transfer fee to retain his services on a permanent basis.
Still, Edu did enough to impress the Union coaches during his debut season in Philly, showing his versatility as both a midfielder and center back, assuming a leadership role as the team’s most well-known player, and getting selected to the 2014 MLS All-Star Game.
Edu, a former MLS Rookie of the Year, also made U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s preliminary World Cup roster, but got cut before the Americans departed for Brazil.
Curtin has said that he believes Edu’s best chance to remain in the national team picture is at center back. And he also believes that gives the Union the best chance to win, saying that the 28-year-old is athletic enough to shut down big-name offensive players like David Villa and Kaka that are coming into the league this year.
“Mo’s a soccer player,” Curtin said in November. “He’s willing to play center back, for sure. If you look at his record when he played center back, it was successful.”
Edu had been a midfielder for much of his career, which included a successful few years with Rangers F.C. in Scotland, but seemed willing to help stabilize Philly’s backline after Curtin took over as coach in June.
He also seemed eager to return to MLS — the league that helped him revitalize his career after a rocky stint at Stoke City — and to a Union team he hopes is on the rise.
“It’s out of my hands a little bit,” Edu said in October, referring to the negotiations between the Union and Stoke City. “But I’ve definitely enjoyed it here. This is a group I believe in.”
According to a league source, the Union could announce the deal as soon as Friday.