The Philadelphia Union may have exercised their option on former All-Star defender Carlos Valdes, but both Valdes and his agent are holding out hope that he will be able to stay in South America or go to Europe in an effort to boost his chances at making Colombia's 2014 World Cup squad.
“If you ask me, ‘Is the player going to play in MLS?’ I can tell you with 101 percent certainty that in the first half of 2014, Valdes will not play in MLS,” Valdes’ agent, Ricardo Pachón, told FutbolMLS.com.
Valdes originally signed with the Union in 2011 and enjoyed his best year with them in 2012, when he was named to the MLS All-Star team. However, he then went on loan to Colombia's Independiente Santa Fe in the 2013 season in order to help secure his place in the Colombian national team squad.
He ended up doing just that, making a strong contribution as Colombia earned their first World Cup berth in 16 years, while Santa Fe enjoyed a run to the semifinals of the 2013 Copa Libertadores.
And though Pachón admitted that MLS is a fine home for Valdes on a competitive level, he said that the league's March kickoff date was the biggest impediment to Valdes' immediate return ahead of the World Cup, set to start on June 12.
“MLS is competitive enough and has nothing to envy about many tournaments in Latin America," Pachon added, "but Carlos can’t wait until March to play because he’s a starter on the Colombian national team.
“The most important thing is that Valdes has competitive games now and assures his spot in the World Cup, which up until today, he has had."
Nonetheless, the final word on where Valdes will end up next year rests with the Union, who told FutbolMLS.com last week after Santa Fe declined their option to buy the player that, "Valdes’ loan has ended with Santa Fe, so he will return to be part of our roster.”
Despite declining their option to buy Valdes, though, Santa Fe remain interested in bringing him back to their team, and are reportedly working with the Union and MLS to come to an agreement. The Union gave a 'no comment' when contacted by FutbolMLS.com about this possibility.
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"We have gotten a good reception," Pachón said. "Valdes has the assurance of knowing that he has a home with Santa Fe, which the president of the club has expressed, and we're sure we can agree to a deal with MLS."
Pachón is also not discounting a move for his client to Europe or Argentina, saying he has heard proposals from both places. He mentioned Russia in particular, as well as Argentine sides Boca Juniors and Rosario Central, though admitted the economic situation in the South American country could make a move difficult.
Emmanuel Quispe contributed to the reporting on this article from Buenos Aires, Argentina.