By IVES GALARCEP
Philadelphia Union captain Carlos Valdes is on the verge of heading back to Colombia, and if he does, the all-star defender may never wear a Union uniform again.
The Union are closing in on a deal to send the Colombian national team defender to Colombian side Santa Fe on a year-long loan, sources confirmed to SBI on Wednesday.
The deal has yet to be finalized as of Wednesday morning, but sources with knowledge of the deal tell SBI the proposed move is a one-year loan with an option for Santa Fe to buy Valdes. The move is expected to be finalized this week.
Valdes has been pushing for a loan for several months in order to be fit heading into Colombia’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers in February. Valdes has emerged as a regular starter on a Colombia side enjoying a strong qualifying campaign in South America. Colombian national team manager Jose Pekerman was another driving force behind the move, telling Valdes that such a move could help his standing with the national team.
The success of Colombian national team in World Cup qualifying has raised the profile of players on the team, including Valdes, and a continued strong run for Colombia could earn Valdes some long looks from European suitors. If that happens, Santa Fe would most likely trigger the purchase option on Valdes (though the Union would likely be protected by sell-on fees included in this type of deal).
Santa Fe is currently competing in Copa Libertadores and is favored to advance past the group stage. That competition would also provide Valdes ample opportunity to play high-level matches as well as potentially catch the eye of scouts. Santa Fe’s first Copa Libertadores match is scheduled for Feb. 13th against Peruvian side Real Garcilaso.
An MLS All-star in 2012, Valdes was the leader of the Union defense, but his desire to make a move led the Union to acquire former Seattle Sounders defender Jeff Parke. If Valdes does leave, the Union will have Parke, Amobi Okugo and Bakary Soumare as centerback options heading into the 2013 season.
So why would the Union send Valdes to Santa Fe on loan rather than sell him outright? It’s pretty simple. Valdes’ value has the potential to skyrocket in 2013 by competing in Copa Libertadores and South American World Cup qualifying. A loan with a purchase option that includes sell-ons for the Union makes the most sense for the Union.
What do you think of this development? See the Union doing well defensively with a centerback trio of Parke, Okugo and Soumare? Hoping Valdes comes back to the Union in a year?
Share your thoughts below.