Photo courtesy of Sochaux
Philadelphia Union officials met with Sochaux midfielder Vincent Nogueira over the weekend as part of discussions to bring the Frenchman to the Union.
Union chief executive Nick Sakiewicz and assistant coach Brendan Burke traveled to Lyon, France, where they met with Nogueira and watched him play Saturday for Sochaux in a 2-0 loss to Lyon, according to the source. Unfortunately, Nogueira left the game in the 64th minute with what appeared to be an ankle injury after playing right midfield in a more defensive formation, rather than his typical center midfield role.
Nogueira is a box-to-box midfielder with attacking tendencies who, if he joined the Union, would likely be a designated player. He has served as captain for the Ligue 1 side, who he has played professionally for since 2007. This year, he has played in 14 games and recorded 1 assist and no bookings. He has been a regular starter for Sochaux since 2011. Transfermarkt values Nogueira at about $2.7 million.
The Union hope to have a deal secured this week, but they are not as close to a deal as they are with Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana. That deal is largely completed, as Maidana indicated over the weekend, and needs only the formal paperwork for completion.
The talks with Nogueira could still fall through. Sochaux wants to keep Nogueira the full length of his contract, while the Union want him for preseason so he can integrate with his new teammates, according to the source. Negotiating that dilemma appears to be a key factor in whether Nogueira joins the Union or not.
There is an extensive track record of MLS designated players failing to integrate well into their teams upon joining mid-season. Clint Dempsey, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, David Beckham and others all stumbled initially in their first half-seasons in MLS after joining mid-season, despite their past successes. Cahill, Beckham and Henry all went on to be very successful with their MLS clubs, however, once they had a full training camp to integrate with their teams. It appears this is a problem the Union want to avoid.
If a deal is struck, it would likely happen before the draft. Otherwise, Philadelphia may look to other players as alternatives to Nogueira. While Burke was in France with Sakiewicz, Union manager John Hackworth was in Florida at the MLS scouting combine, and it’s possible the team could make a trade prior to Thursday’s amateur draft.