John Hackworth says outside offers, league rules may prevent Philadelphia Union from signing Fred

Fred with the Philadelphia Union

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CHESTER, Pa. – One week ago, Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth said that the players that had stuck with the club through all of the preseason cuts were the ones “we feel like will be here the rest of the year.”

One of those players was Fred, and the Brazilian midfielder was all smiles as he talked with reporters about what it meant to be back in Philly after playing for the Union during the franchise’s expansion season in 2010.

But it now appears like the reunion between them has hit a snag.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Hackworth said the status of the signing remains up in the air due to MLS rules as well as competing offers from outside of the league.

“We’ve been going back and forth between the league and he and his representatives and then he’s fielding different offers,” Hackworth said. “I know there was a report that he was going to go to Minnesota. We know that they made him a strong offer. I can tell you that I don’t think that’s done yet so we’re still hopeful we’ll be able to get something worked out there.”

Considering Fred has been with the Union throughout the preseason and has remained with the club through the start of the regular season, it may seem odd that Minnesota United FC – a North American Soccer League club – has swooped in to make a play at the Brazilian.

But complicating matters it the fact that Fred has to go through waivers before returning to MLS since he previously played in the league. The 34-year-old midfielder played for D.C. United from 2007-09 and again in 2011, sandwiched around his one season in Philadelphia.

“I’ve talked to the league a lot on this,” Hackworth said. “Long story short, he fits into the category now as a player returning to our league and nobody has his rights but there’s a mechanism, per our current CBA, where players are reallocated to the league. So that’s a little bit complicated.”

Still, despite the complications and some of the outside interest in Fred – who most recently spent two years playing with Melbourne Heart FC in Australia – Hackworth still hopes the Union will be able to bring him on as a veteran presence for their locker room.

“Nobody has his rights,” Hackworth said. “But there is a process we’re going to have to go through to acquire his rights.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.