The Zlataln Ibrahimovic MLS rumor mill is officially on overdrive, and Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin – following a 1-1 draw in a top-of-the-table matchup with Montreal Impact – found himself unexpectedly, unbelievably dealing with the question of a potential … union.
"Yeah, I saw a bunch of things on Twitter," Curtin told reporters postgame. "A lot of that stuff is speculation."
A social media tornado swirled Wednesday, with the eye a photo revealing a portion of the Union's Discovery List – featuring Ibrahimovic – later confirmed to MLSsoccer.com by a team spokesman to be a month-old version.
The Discovery List, is a running group of up to seven players not under contract with MLS who have been identified as desirable acquisitions for that team. Having a player on their Discovery List grants a team that player’s MLS rights. In order to maintain leverage in potential negotiations, Discovery Lists are not publicly disclosed, and they can change at any time as teams’ priorities and targets shift.
That latter note appears to have been key in Philadelphia's approach to managing their constantly evolving List.
"Is there a strategic move to have him on there? Possibly," Curtin said. "I hope we don't need to reveal our Discovery List officially, but yeah, you look at different things and different mechanisms that our league has, different unique ways that players come back into the league in ways that you can be rewarded if you're a little bit out in front of things.
"So yeah, our discovery list is fluid, it changes a lot. If you're asking me if I would take Zlatan on our team, yes, I would, but at the same time it's just speculation now. There's always different things to drive up prices and things like that, so we'll see what happens."
Curtin praised Ibrahimovic for his goal-scoring prowess and track record of team success, reiterating that they'd welcome the possibility of adding the prolific striker if it ever became an option. Yet he downplayed the notion that that the reveal of the dated Discovery List becoming public would have any ill effect.
"It doesn't matter because there's nothing that could change, really," Curtin said. "We're fine with it. At the same time, credit to our whole technical staff for being a little bit ahead of the curve. Again, it's all speculation at this point."