Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz spoke about the frustration over the circumstances of the signing of Maurice Edu from Stoke City, per philly.com
“There were four interested parties in this, and to find a win-win-win-win scenario for four different parties was very difficult,” Sakiewicz said, referring to the Union, Edu, MLS headquarters and Stoke City. “It takes time to do good deals. We found [one] all the way around.”
The deal is one of a number to have brought high-profile American players back to the MLS – though usually not as awkwardly as this time round.
Sakiewicz also spoke to media members after the press conference to announce Edu has concluded. All via philly.com
You have seen some of the reactions that have been out there: people wondering about whether Edu should have been subject to the allocation process as a U.S. national team player and Designated Player, as well as other MLS roster rules. Does it at all get frustrating for you when you can’t say anything and are trying to keep things quiet as all these rumors are flying around?
No, listen. I’ve been in this for a long time, so it’s part of the drill. It’s part of the course of doing player signings. I was just in London for three days talking with multiple teams and they are going through this very similar kind of process of give-and-take in negotiations. Youv’e got to make a lot of parties happy to get deals done. It’s not a box of chocolates over there either, getting players signed.
So I know it’s difficult, I know it’s hard, and I know the processes are very fluid. That’s part of the art of the negotiation. I’ve done a lot of these kinds of deals with players as big as Mo, and some bigger. They’re always unique, and they’re always frustrating at times. But you’ve got to keep a level head, and your eye on the target. We didn’t take our eye off the target and we got our man.
Does this deal stand out from others that you’ve done over the years?
Not really. Probably the most difficult one I ever did was Lothar Matthäus [signing with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 2000]. That was very, very difficult and painful, actually.
This one wasn’t painful. This was great people at Stoke, Todd [Durbin] was awesome in the process, Mo was terrific. So all the parties involved in this negotiation, including Lyle, are good people. I can’t say that about every deal I’ve ever done.
When you look at everything that has transpired with the Edu deal – the loan, the allocation order and so forth – are those aspects that you anticipated having to deal with when you first started looking at him as a possible target? Did you envision this proceeding the way it has?
Yeah, look. We were down in Fort Lauderdale and we knew we had to get D.C.’s number one allocation order ranking. We went and we did that. I think a lot of people were scratching their head as to why we did that, because we gave up Jeff Parke. Well, there was a method, and it wasn’t madness. We knew we wanted Maurice and that’s why we did it. We were pretty confident at that time that we were going to get the deal done.
Part of the frustration was a lack of clarity on how Designated Players are signed. MLS stated that Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey were exempt from the U.S. national team player allocation process because they were DPs, but Maurice Edu was not. People were trying to figure out how the path was established.
I think in the coming weeks you’re going to see the league clear those things up. Each year the league puts out the rules, and I think some things have been changed and adopted in this offseason. Unfortunately, the league hasn’t put that out there for you guys, but they will. So I think that clarity will come when that information comes out from the league.