Philadelphia Union never asked Freddy Adu to take a pay cut, according to Union chief executive Nick Sakiewicz.
Sakiewicz told the Philly Soccer Page in a wide-ranging interview that reports of Adu’s contract situation weren’t quite accurate.
“He wasn’t asked to take any pay cut,” Sakiewicz said in the interview, the full video of which is available below.
Sakiewicz said the Union simply did not view Adu as part of the team’s long-term plans after former manager Peter Nowak was fired in June.
“When I made the coaching change, John Hackworth wanted to build the team in a different way and actually get back to the style of play that we founded this club on, and Freddy wasn’t in the plans,” Sakiewicz said. “So we’ve been working on trying to get him a better situation. The transfer window obviously came and went, and unfortunately, Freddy had a number of offers that were presented to him that he declined because he didn’t want to go to those countries. But we’ll continue to work on that. And it’s nothing personal. He just doesn’t fit our plans.”
Adu, the Union’s highest paid player, has been collecting a salary but has not been in uniform since Union officials told him he is no longer welcome at the club. The team has been shopping him on to other clubs, but Adu has yet to accept a transfer. His salary budget hit this year is $650,000, Sakiewicz said, more than 20 percent of the team’s total cap.
Sakiewicz said after the taped interview that Adu had rejected transfer offers from clubs in Russia, Ukraine, Australia, South Korea and Mexico. Brazil marked the sixth country from which a club has sought to acquire Adu. Sakiewicz declined to discuss the specifics of the proposed deal with Bahia in Brazil’s top division, which has been reported in Brazilian media to include a trade for former Brazilian international Jose Kleberson.
No team in Major League Soccer, however, has sought out Adu’s services, Sakiewicz said.
“One of two things will happen,” Sakiewicz said. “He’ll either get paid by us and not play soccer, or we’ll find him a team.”
Sakiewicz said he doesn’t know what Adu wants to do next with his career but felt Adu turned down some good offers.
“After the third time, I stopped trying to guess what Freddy Adu wants,” Sakiewicz said. “The Korea deal was substantially more than what he’s making now.”
Sakiewicz’s comments add new information to the picture Hackworth and Adu had previously painted.
On Jan. 21, Hackworth said during a press conference, “We basically said (to Adu) if you’re willing to renegotiate, come back under some different guidelines, we’ll be happy to talk. If you don’t want to do that we want to make sure you clearly understand that you won’t be back with us.”
A Union official said Sunday that specifics for renegotiation were never discussed, however.
On March 3, ESPN quoted a statement Adu reportedly gave to Alexi Lalas: “The truth is that I have been frozen out by the Philadelphia Union solely because I refuse to take a huge pay cut I am prepared to honor my contract with the Union or any other club in MLS, and I don’t think what has to happen to me is right. All I want to do now is play soccer and try to progress my career.”
The Washington Post reported a day later that the Union asked Adu to take a 75 percent pay cut.
A phone call to Adu’s agent, Richard Motzkin, was not returned Monday.
Sakiewicz addressed a wide array of other topics during his interview Saturday with the Philly Soccer Page, including:
- Plans for expanding PPL Park;
- The Union’s payment of $1 million owed to the city of Chester;
- The club’s overall financial situation;
- The Union’s youth movement and hire of a new academy director;
- Arbitration of Peter Nowak’s lawsuit against the team;
- Reports that Nowak and/or former scouting director Diego Gutierrez personally benefited from player transfers;
- And more.
Watch the video above. See more PSP videos here.