The long-rumored and much-debated signing of Maurice Edu by the Philadelphia Union was finally made official on Monday. As previously reported, Edu will be a Designated Player and went through the Allocation Ranking, but there was a twist: He'll come on a 12-month loan that includes an option to buy.
"As a U.S. international with experience playing against some of the best competition in the world, Maurice adds a wealth of knowledge, skill and leadership to our club while still being in his prime," Union head coach John Hackworth said in a team release. "We think he will be an excellent addition to our squad and we are very excited to have him return to MLS and represent the Philadelphia Union."
MLS seems to have possibly found a way to eat its cake and keep it too with this move. While the financials won't be known for another month or two, there's a reasonably good chance that the league managed to avoid paying Edu the $1.2-1.5 million he was supposedly seeking by structuring this as a loan. More likely, part of Edu's current salary is being paid by Stoke City. If Edu proves he's worth all that money, there's probably a deal in place to give that money back to Stoke City in the form of a transfer fee.
Those financials aside, this seems like a great move for the Union. While Edu has not been playing regularly for awhile, there's little doubt that he's capable of being one of the top defensive midfielders in MLS, an area where the Union were badly in need of an upgrade.
As good as this move might be for the Union, though, the real winner here is probably Edu. It has been about nine months since he made a first-team appearance with any club and has subsequently fallen out of the picture for the United States national team. Although there's precious little time to make an impression, he'll at least have the opportunity to make a case for his inclusion in the 2014 World Cup roster.