It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Union have been in hot pursuit of US national team regular Alejandro Bedoya during the past year. And it’s no secret that the club is in dire need of a midseason boost after Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake dropped them to 2-5-1 since the Copa America break.
But is Bedoya the right answer?
Let’s start by saying this: if the Union can acquire Bedoya from France's FC Nantes, as first reported late Monday night by ESPN’s Marc Stein (the Chicago Fire actually have first dibs via the Allocation Ranking, but could choose to pass on him or execute a trade), it would give the club a nice little bit of star power. The combination of Bedoya and Maurice Edu — Bedoya’s former teammate at Rangers F.C. and a fellow World Cup veteran — would give Philly the kind of US national team presence they’ve never before had.
At the same time, it might be difficult for Union head coach Jim Curtin to figure out a way to fit Bedoya and Edu — who should make his season debut at some point this month after being sidelined the whole year with a stress fracture — into a crowded midfield that also features Brian Carroll, Warren Creavalle, Tranquillo Barnetta and Roland Alberg in the middle of the pitch and top scorer Chris Pontius, Ilsinho and Sebastien Le Toux out on the wings.
Bedoya’s versatility would certainly give Curtin some options, and the 29-year-old New Jersey native has enjoyed a lot of success on the wing, especially with the US national team. But Philly’s most glaring need right now is in the No. 8 ("box-to-box") midfielder role, which Vincent Nogueira occupied for 2 1/2 years before he suddenly departed the team due to personal health reasons in mid-June.
Could Edu and Bedoya hold down the No. 6 and No. 8 midfield slots while Barnetta or Alberg keys the attack from the No. 10 position?
Or would Curtin decide to keep Carroll — who’s quietly enjoying one of his best seasons in MLS — in the defensive midfield and consider moving Edu to the backline to bolster a struggling defense (as the Union captain has done in each of the last two seasons)?
Perhaps Curtin could slot Bedoya into the wing and move a current starter — most likely Ilsinho — into a reserve role?
Naturally, there are a lot of questions that would need to be answered if the Union acquire Bedoya, and striker depth behind C.J. Sapong would continue to be an issue as well. But considering the talent, pedigree and instant credibility that Bedoya would bring to a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2011, these are good questions to have.