Big week for (former?) Toronto FC midfielder Maurice Edu.
First comes the Olympic tournament in Beijing, where U.S. coach Peter Nowak once again used Edu as a central defender, but where no amount of lineup juggling could save the Americans from elimination. Especially not with cards of both colours keeping Freddy Adu and Michael Orozco out of action.
Last night came news that Edu, last year's MLS rookie of the year has been named the the U.S. team for the next round of World Cup qualifying, a high compliment for a player who, as far as the U.S. national teams are concerned, still doesn't have a true position.
But the most important development in a week full of them came this morning, with reports that MLS and Glasgow Rangers had worked out a $5-million transfer deal for the 22-year-old Californian.
Of course, the deal's not official yet, which would explain why nobody at TFC would elaborate on why Edu missed today's practice, or where he would be this weekend when they play the Red Bulls in at the Meadowlands.
Attempts to reach Mo Johnston for comment were unsuccessful, the team's PR staff saying simply that he had not comment on reports of an Edu transfer.
But people I talked to close to the situation said that if the deal's not final yet, it's definitely heading that way.
So how does this deal affect TFC?
It depends on who Johnston and head coach John Carver have coming in.
We've heard it before, but after today's practice Carver assured reporters that TFC would beat the FIFA transfer deadline and have a new player in by the end of the weekend. Reminded that he had made similar promises in the past, Carver chuckled and without naming names reiterated that a transfer is pending. He said he had hoped to have the player on the roster last week against Colorado, but factors beyond the team's control delayed the deal.
In the meantime folks who follow TFC shouldn't be surprised to see the Edu transfer happen. Edu's been the subject of transfer talk intermittently since last summer's friendly against Aston Villa. The club even invited him to train with them this winter, but he turned them down to work out with the national team.
When I interviewed Edu about his future plans late last season he said he hoped to play in Europe, but he just wasn't sure when the opportunity would arise. Around the same time, Johnston said he would never stop a young player, no matter how useful or popular, from realizing a dream to play overseas.
So Edu was never going to end up like New England's Taylor Twellman.
In January English club Preston North End made a $2.5 million offer for the high-scoring forward, and Twellman, eyeing an increase in pay and prestige, was eager to accept.
That was never going to happen here.
As soon as Edu was ready to go, Johnston was resigned to letting him go.
That's the problem with adding talented young players to your team in this league. Sooner or later some team with more money is going to want them.
In Edu's case it was sooner.
-- Morgan Campbell