Alejandro Bedoya seals MLS move to join Philadelphia Union from Nantes
U.S. international midfielder Alejandro Bedoya has left Nantes to sign with Major League Soccer and will become a member of the Philadelphia Union.
The French club announced the deal on Wednesday and Union coach Jim Curtin confirmed the signing in a news conference later in the day.
Bedoya signed a Designated Player contract, and Curtin said Bedoya could debut at D.C. United on Saturday.
Multiple sources told ESPN FC that Bedoya's move included a $1 million transfer fee, and the 29-year-old will receive an average annual salary of $1m. ESPN's Marc Stein first reported on Monday that the Union were in negotiations to bring Bedoya aboard.
Philadelphia obtained Bedoya's rights via a trade with the Chicago Fire, which saw the Union land the top spot in the league's allocation order for returning MLS players and select U.S. Internationals. Philadelphia then used that spot to acquire Bedoya.
In return, Chicago received both general and targeted allocation money, a 2017 first round draft pick and discovery rights on a player whose name was not disclosed, as well as Philadelphia's spot in the allocation order. That spot will now be first, as Philly was sitting at No. 2.
Sources confirmed a report from MLSSoccer.com that the Fire would get $100,000 in general allocation money and $75,000 in targeted.
"We have laid out very specific goals for our club this season and Alejandro adds the type of quality that can instantly guide us in achieving them," Union director Earnie Stewart said in a statement. "He's a tremendous player in the prime of his career and we're thrilled to welcome him to the club."
The move was the second time this year the the Fire traded away the No. 1 spot in the allocation order, after giving it to the Colorado Rapids in January in exchange for the No. 2 spot and two first round draft picks.
The Rapids used the No. 1 spot to acquire U.S. international goalkeeper Tim Howard, allowing the Fire to move back into the No. 1 position.
Bedoya has spent his professional career abroad, emerging as a key figure at Nantes over the past three seasons.
He has become a fixture in Jurgen Klinsmann's national team setup, winning 53 caps, after successful spells in Sweden and Scotland.
In an interview with the Soccer Today show on ESPN Radio in Dallas (103.3 FM) after the Copa America, Bedoya said he "still obviously prefers to stay in Europe" but acknowledged that there were "ongoing discussions" about a move to MLS, motivated partly by the desire to raise his young son in the States.
In February, he signed a contract extension with Nantes that was scheduled to keep him there through the 2018-19 season.
But Philadelphia finalized the move for the midfielder this week as it works to solidify a playoff position in the Eastern Conference, where the team is currently in fourth place.
"He brings us a boost at the right moment, and we do need a little boost right now," Curtin said.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.