[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The Philadelphia Union may finally get its wish and move unwanted Freddy Adu. Union coach John Hackworth confirmed the MLS team is planning to send Adu to Brazilian club Bahia in return for 33-year-old midfielder Kleberson, who started on Brazil's 2002 World Cup championship team. Hackworth cautioned there were “still hurdles that have to be stepped over."
Adu had a falling out with Hackworth last season, his second after his return to MLS following a European career that took him to five clubs. The Union was still on the hook for his Designated Player salary, which gave it little room to maneuver in the offseason.
“It’s a complicated deal,” Hackworth said. “But ultimately we’re going to get Kleberson here, they’re going to get Adu and we’re not going to be able to recover salary cap space in that.”
Only 23, Adu still attracted interest from clubs around the world.
“From Europe to Asia to Australia to South America to Mexico, there was interest in Freddy Adu,” Hackworth said. “He’s the type of player and has the type of name that I think attracts that interest no matter what. Finding that situation that worked out for both parties has been much more difficult.”
Kleberson was on the Union's radar even before the exchange with Adu was tossed about.
“I remember sitting on my couch in 2002, drinking a bunch of cups of coffee to stay awake, and was amazed by his performance in that World Cup,” Hackworth said. “He was a bit of revelation. So the first time that name came across my email, I was like, ‘Wow, you know, this is a great player.' Obviously 2002 was a long time ago for all of us. Since then, it’s not like he’s not done anything. He made the 2010 World Cup team for Brazil, which I would argue is a pretty difficult thing to do. So his quality is still there.”
Except for four years in Europe -- two at Manchester United and two at Besiktas in Turkey -- Kleberson has spent his entire career in Brazil.