UPDATE: The Union announced Bakary Soumare’s signing on Tuesday shortly after noon. The announcement, which said Soumare will be eligible to play for the Union in Saturday’s road game against Houston, said of the terms of the deal, “The Union made a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, giving the Union the top spot in the MLS allocation ranking and Vancouver’s Second Round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. In exchange, the Union parted with their first-round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the club’s 12th position in the league’s allocation ranking, as well as allocation money.”
UPDATE: Ives Galarcep, a guest on the 90th Minute Union radio show, said on Monday night when asked about his report of the Soumare signing, “I can tell you right now, it’s a done deal.” Galarcep said a signing announcement is expected on Tuesday. He also says that he believes Soumare is not a DP signing, that he is “taking a pretty big pay cut.”
Ives Galarcep reports at Fox Soccer that the Philadelphia Union have signed 6-foot-4-inch central defender Bakary Soumare.
According to the unsourced report, Soumare, a 2008 Defender of the Year finalist when he was with Chicago Fire, will join the Union after being released from his contract with French side Boulogne.
A 26-year-old native of Mali, Soumare holds a US green card and would therefore not take up an international spot on the Union roster.
No confirmation was available from the Union at the time of this writing.
Ives Galarcep writes, “In order to pave the way for signing Soumare, Philadelphia completed a trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps to move into the top spot in the MLS Allocation order in order to select Soumare.”
MLS rules state, “The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee.”
Soumare joined the Fire after being drafted out of the University of Virginia in 2007, where he played as a defensive midfielder. He was sold to Boulogne in the summer of 2009 for a then record transfer fee of $2.1 million. He was a regular starter at the newly promoted club, which was promptly relegated back to the second division after one season in the top flight. Soumare had a total of 67 appearances, scoring 2 goals, with Boulogne before going on loan to second division German side Karlsruhe, where he had 7 appearances. In March, the German club announced that Soumare had undergone knee surgery for damage to his meniscus.
His last match was in a 2-2 draw with Hansa Rostock on March 18, 2012.
With both Boulogne and Karlsruhe relegated at the end of the 2011-12 season, Soumare, who has long evidenced a desire to return to play in the US, saw his European prospects diminish. Galarcep writes, “With Boulogne set for relegation to the French third division, the club has let Soumare walk away from the remaining time in his contract to return to MLS.”
The website transfermarkt.com list his current value at $1,250,189.
According to Galarcep’s report, which says the Union “have been courting Soumare for more than three months,” the signing is “part of the long-term plan of former Philadelphia head coach Peter Nowak, who traded away veteran defender Dan Califf in anticipation of the arrival of Soumare.”
Galarcep is scheduled to be a guest on this evening’s installment of the 90th Minute radio show on 610WIP between 7pm and 8pm.
Tomorrow: Look for PSP’s report on the Union’s allocation money and salary budget. PSP interviewed MLS and players union officials about how MLS finances work. We’ll share the nuts and bolts, beyond what’s published in the league rules, to show more clearly just what the Union’s financial situation really is heading into Wednesday’s opening of the transfer window.