Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Freddy Adu’s move to Brazilian club Bahia is not yet official, but the Philadelphia Union are working hard at make sure it gets done in the coming days.
Union head coach John Hackworth confirmed and discussed Adu’s impending switch to Bahia (which was reported by SBI last week) in his weekly press conference on Wednesday, and was careful in talking about the potential deal. Hackword stated that while both clubs want to finish the deal for the out-of-favor midfielder, nothing was finalized yet.
“There’s still some hurdles that have to be stepped over in order for that to be done,” said Hackworth. “The reality is that we think it’s a good situation for both Freddy and the Union and it could potentially bring us a very high-profile player from Brazil.
“I’ll confirm that player is Kleberson, but the deal is not done yet so there’s not a lot of details I can talk about.”
Hackworth added that one of the last steps in making the move happen is Adu needing to head to Brazil to meet with Bahia officials. The Union head coach also said that no cap space would be freed up by the looming deal and that Adu drew interest from teams in Mexico, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
“He’s the type of player and has the type of name that attracts that interest no matter what,” said Hackworth. “Finding a situation that worked out for both parties made it much more difficult.”
Here are more notes from Hackworth’s conference call on Wednesday:
KLEBERSON INTEREST BEGAN LONG BEFORE DEAL CAME ABOUT
While much of the talking point during the press conference was about Adu, Hackworth also spent a chunk of it discussing Kleberson. Hackworth revealed he knew about Kleberson from when he was a member of the 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil squad and admitted he was somewhat surprised to know that the 33-year-old midfielder was available to help further fortify Philadelphia’s midfield.
“Kleberson was presented to us as a player before we had any discussions with Bahia about Freddy,” said Hackworth. “I’ll tell you this: I remember sitting on my couch in 2002, drinking a bunch of cups of coffee so I could say awake, but I was amazed by his performance at that World Cup. He was a bit of a revelation (then), so the first time that name came across my email I was like, ‘Wow. He’s a great player.’
“We have a couple of different scouting networks that we use, so initially I got on the internet and did a bunch of research and found out what he was doing. That’s how this started with Kleberson and later on the Freddy situation, it just came together.”
HACKWORTH TOUCHES ON SOUMARE TRADE REQUEST
From one headache to another.
Another topic that Hackworth had to touch on on Wednesday was Bakary Soumare’s trade request. Soumare recently made it known that he wanted to find a new home in MLS after struggling to find playing time since joining the Union last season, but Hackworth said the Mali centerback has not seen consistent minutes due to the stellar play of Amobi Okugo and the addition of Jeff Parke from the Seattle Sounders.
“The coach’s decision was to play Amobi and Jeff (in the season opener) and Baky wanted to be traded at that point,” said Hackworth. “It throws a wrench in our plans overall and we try to do what’s best for the player and organization and we’re still in the process of weighing that out because Baky is still a Philadelphia Union player.
“I can’t tell you how this is going to go. We’re hopeful that we can find a resolution for both us and him, but we value Baky. There’s a reason we brought him here, there’s a reason he’s still here and however it plays it out over the next couple days or weeks or months, we’ll just have to see.”
Like the Adu-for-Kleberson deal between the Union and Bahia? Do you see Kleberson fitting in well in MLS and with the Union? Should Philadelphia just hold onto Soumare?
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