At long last, Maurice Edu is a member of the Philadelphia Union.
After a complicated transfer adventure, the Union completed the signing of Edu on a year-long loan from Stoke City -- with an option to buy -- using their place atop the MLS allocation order to acquire the U.S. national team midfielder.
Edu comes back to the league where he began his professional career as a Designated Player, but unlike with Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, he was still required to go through the allocation order mechanism (the league office was not involved financially with the acquisition, which is potentially the reasoning behind the discrepancy. A league spokesperson told MLSSoccer.com that an amendment to the 2014 rulebook will clarify). The Union acquired that place in a pre-draft trade with D.C. United, sending veteran center back Jeff Parke to D.C. in exchange for center back Ethan White and the allocation place.
"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 manager John Hackworth said in a team statement. "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."
The move gives Philadelphia another central midfield centerpiece along with its other new DP signing Cristian Maidana, and it also provides Edu with a sorely needed outlet for which he can play and try and earn himself a place on the 2014 World Cup roster.
Edu departed MLS in 2008 after playing for Toronto FC in order to try his hand in Scotland, where he starred for Rangers. When the club went under financially, he found his way to Stoke City, but he was a bench staple at Britannia Stadium, only receiving consistent playing time when he went on loan to Bursaspor during the 2012-13 campaign. Battling injuries and fighting roster competition, Edu did not appear for Stoke once this season, and his last first-team club activity came last April.
His last cap for the U.S. national team came against Mexico in March, during a historic 0-0 draw at Azteca. His hope is that a return to the field, and a return to form, will re-enter his name in the roster discussion as the countdown to Brazil continues. Edu was a member of Bob Bradley's 2010 squad.
Edu marks the second player to be drafted No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft only to leave the league and return through the allocation order. The other, oddly enough: Freddy Adu, also returning to Philadelphia. With Philadelphia using its place in the allocation order, Seattle now sits atop the mechanism, next in line for the next U.S. men's national team player or MLS player who left the league for a transfer fee only to sign again with MLS.