NOTE: This post has been updated to add additional details on Maidana’s contract situation, transfer fees and playing background.
Philadelphia Union may have missed out on Michael Bradley, but they are zeroing in on Argentine winger Cristian “Chaco” Maidana.
Maidana, 26, terminated his relationship with Argentinos Juniors by mutual agreement, an Argentine journalist reported earlier today. Maidana has not signed with the Union yet, but a source familiar with the situation told the Philly Soccer Page that the Union are pursuing Maidana and hope to have him signed to a contract shortly.
Arrancaron las rescisiones en #AAAJ: ayer resolvieron sus salidas de comun acuerdo Osvaldo Miranda y Cristian “Chaco” Maidana
— Alan Yajia (@alanyajia) January 9, 2014
Maidana is a left-footed attacking midfielder who has played professionally in Argentina, Chile, Spain, Mexico and Russia, garnering a $3.5 million transfer fee for a move to Spartak Moscow in 2008. While he would likely play left winger for the Union, he spent much of the last two years deployed as a No. 10 attacker.
He spent three years on the books in Moscow, some of which was on loan with other clubs after suffering a knee injury. Maidana then returned to the Americas on a full contract in 2011 when he signed with CDS Rangers de Talca in Chile. He had a successful 2011-12 season with Rangers but was then loaned to Mexican side Atlante for the 2012-13 season and Argentinos Juniors for the 2013 Apertura season.
The Union would pay a transfer fee in the neighborhood of $400,000 to Rangers, who still hold Maidana’s rights, according to a second reliable source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Maidana would likely be a designated player and sign on a three-year contract. His salary may be below DP threshold of about $370,000, however, because of the inclusion of transfer fees. (The maximum salary budget hit for any player in 2013 was $368,750, but that is expected to rise in 2014.) Transfermarkt lists Maidana’s market value as 750,000 euros, or approximately $1.02 million.
Should Maidana sign with the Union, he would fill the need identified by Union manager John Hackworth for a left-footed midfielder. The Union played most of the 2013 season without a natural left-footed player at either left back or left midfield until signing Fabinho during mid-season and alternately deploying him in both roles.
Union management has been open about the team’s need to secure additional players in the coming weeks. The team’s only addition this off-season has been little-used midfielder Corben Bone, acquired in the MLS-Re-Entry Draft. The Union missed out on Argentine attacking midfielder Pablo Perez when Spanish side Malaga outbid them earlier this month.
Additionally, PSP has independently confirmed from reliable sources that the Union did in fact bid for U.S. international Michael Bradley, as previously reported by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. Apparently, teams were given the option to weigh in with a bid in a fashion similar to Clint Dempsey’s deal with Seattle. However, Toronto’s massive bid far surpassed offers by the Union and other teams interested in Bradley.