Philadelphia Union president Nick Sakiewicz and head coach John Hackworth have made no secret about the club’s desire to land US international Maurice Edu.
It now appears they’re getting closer to getting the deal done. According to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, Sakiewicz is headed to England to finalize the deal with Edu and his current club, Stoke City.
When contacted by MLSsoccer.com, a spokesman for the Union would not comment on the specifics of ongoing negotiations with Edu but did say “John Hackworth and Nick Sakiewicz have been open about our pursuit of Edu.”
A spokesman for MLS declined comment.
In an interview with SiriusXM FC on Wednesday, Hackworth said the Union were “really close” to signing Edu.
"All parties have been diligent about trying to come to the table and negotiate in a way that can work out for everybody,” Hackworth said. “So I'm very hopeful we'll be able to announce that signing in the very near future."
Hackworth did point to the financial aspect of bringing over a player from the EPL as a major hurdle.
“It's a big commitment by the Philadelphia Union, and it's really important for the league to bring back these US national team players,” he said in the interview. “Right now he's playing for an EPL club, and he's earning a very good salary. That's certainly a factor.”
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Edu, 27, left Major League Soccer midway through the 2008 season after breaking through as the top draft pick and Rookie of the Year in 2007 with Toronto FC. He’s earned 45 caps for the US national team but has found playing time hard to come by since leaving Scottish side Rangers in 2012.
He has yet to make an appearance this season for Stoke, which Hackworth said is a big reason why Edu wants to come back to MLS.
“I think he's very motivated to try and make the World Cup team this year, so there's a lot of factors on all sides,” Hackworth said on SiriusXM. “Like I said, we've been working on it for quite some time and we're very close to the end here, and hopefully we can come to a resolution that makes sense for all three of us."
The Philadelphia Union were originally linked with the longtime US national team midfielder via Goal.com early last week. Sakiewicz told MLSsoccer.com that he’s optimistic a deal will get done before the transfer window closes on Jan. 31.
“We just want to make sure we do it right,” Sakiewicz told the media during the SuperDraft. “Right for Mo. Right for the league. Right financially for the Union. We want him. And he wants to be here. But the negotiating process is very fluid and unpredictable.”