Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta has decided to join the Philadelphia Union on a free transfer, a source with knowledge of the situation tells SI.com.
Barnetta, a 30-year old midfielder with speed and creativity who can play wide or centrally, played in 22 German Bundesliga games last season for Schalke. He visited Philadelphia last week and trained with the Union to get a sense of the team and the city before making his decision.
Barnetta is the latest MLS signing using the new targeted allocation money mechanism, which allows teams more freedom in paying down a player’s salary so that he doesn’t count as a Designated Player on the salary budget.
During his international career for Switzerland, Barnetta has been on three World Cup teams (2006, ’10 and ’14), though he didn’t see time on the field at Brazil 2014. In his club career, he has played for Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Hannover and St. Gallen.
Barnetta had drawn interest from teams in the Bundesliga (Augsburg), the Premier League (Leicester City) and La Liga (Real Betis) before deciding on Philadelphia.
Barnetta played in four UEFA Champions League games for Schalke last season, starting three of them, including the return leg against Real Madrid in the round of 16.