Freddy Adu is returning to MLS.
The 22-year-old forward who has bounced between European clubs for four years will join the Philadelphia Union, sources close to the player told the Insider on Thursday.
Chivas USA was atop the MLS allocation order, which is utilized when national team players sign with the league, but according to one source, the salary number exceeded the club’s budget plans. The Union was second and claimed Adu, who has agreed to a long-term contract.
The deal reunites Adu with Union Coach Peter Nowak, his coach at D.C. United from 2004 to 2006 and with the U.S. under-23 squad.
Adu was also being pursued by two clubs in Spain — one in the top flight and another in the second division, one source said.
[UPDATE: One club, not two, in Spain reached out and two clubs in Sweden expressed some level of interest. One team in England was “very serious,” although work permit issues would’ve become a factor. The specific clubs were not revealed.]
Adu’s contract is owned by Portuguese club Benfica, but a “complicated” financial arrangement is in the process of being finalized. Once completed, MLS would obtain his full rights.
Adu, who revived his national team career with two impressive performances in the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, didn’t play in the 1-1 draw with Mexico on Wednesday in Philadelphia and returned to his home in the Washington area.
His club career has included stints with United, Real Salt Lake and Benfica, and loan deals with Monaco (France), Belenenses (Portugal), Aris (Greece) and Rizespor (Turkey).
Adu’s possible return to MLS first appeared in the Insider on Wednesday morning and his move to Philadelphia was first reported by the Soccer By Ives website.