By DAN KARELL
The Philadelphia Union went into the offseason searching for a new playmaker and they may have just found one.
With preseason just a few weeks away, the Union announced the signing of their newest Designated Player, Argentine midfielder Cristian “Chaco” Maidana on a free transfer. Maidana will join the squad pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC) and his P-1 visa.
“I was able to see Cristian play several times and I came away extremely impressed with his technical skills, creativity and one vs. one ability,” said John Hackworth, head coach of the Union in a statement. “After having met him personally, I felt even more confident that he was the type of person and player who can benefit our club on and off the field. We are excited that Cristian is a member of the Union.”
The 26-year-old playmaker most recently spent a half-season with Argentinos Juniors in his native country, though he had a more successful run in 2012-2013 with Atlante. While the team struggled to win games, Maidana played 23 times, scoring three times and wearing the famous No. 10 shirt for the club.
Prior to his time in Liga MX, Maidana bounced around from country to country, looking for a club he could thrive at. He spent two seasons with Chilean side Rangers and helped them earn promotion into the first division. In 2008, Spartak Moscow acquired him from his boyhood club Banfield, though he failed to settle in Russia and was sent on loan to Spanish club Recreativo Huelva (2009) and Argentine side Huracan (2011).
The Union have reportedly been after a number of midfielders this offseason, including U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Maurice Edu and French midfielder Vincent Nogueira. The signing of Maidana is the first signing for the Union since acquiring Corben Bone in stage one of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
What do you think of this news? Excited that the Union added a new DP? Have high hopes for Maidana? Where do you see him fitting into the Union lineup?
Share your thoughts below.