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Should the Philadelphia Union Pursue Raúl?

With the recent announcement that Spanish striker phenom Raúl González Blanco–better known to soccer fans as Raúl–played his final game with his current club, Schalke 04, against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday May 9th, Union fans have been hoping that his last stop for his European club will also be his first for an American one.

The signing of Raul would certainly more than make up for the loss of Sebastien Le Toux and his orange cleats.

Raúl would a good addition to the Philadelphia offense, which has had immense struggles since losing Sebastian Le Toux during the offseason. Nowak thought that with the money acquired from Le Toux, the team could finance two talented strikers. Instead, the Union brought a disappointing Columbian striker, Lionard Pajoy, along with 17-year old striker Jouse Martinez who has certainly showed his age in the few minutes he has played this year. Accompanying them are the recently acquired Kai Heralding, Danny Mwanga, and the occasional appearance from Jack Mclnerney.

But can Raúl actually impact the Union’s offense?

The answer is a definite “yes”. He is known for his goal-scoring abilities, something the Union are unaccustomed to. Thus far, the Union have scored 5 goals in 8 games. There is absolutely no way a team can expect to be competitive if they cannot put the ball in the goal. Raúl, on the other hand, has scored 28 goals in 66 appearances with FC Schalke. He is still the all-time leading goal scorer for the prestigious Real Madrid, which plays in a much more competitive league than the MLS.

Another speculation is raised when addressing Raúl’s age. He is currently 34 years old, which makes you think whether or not it is reliable to re-construct a team around him. Although not in his prime, he is still quite capable of leading a team in the MLS to victory. A perfect analogy or represntation would be through the New York Red Bulls’ pick up of French superstar striker Thierry Henry. Henry is also 34 and is second in the MLS in goals scored.

The final concern having to do with Raúl is how he could be signed and subsequently paid. Sure, they have a slight advantage over other teams because he will be in Philadelphia right when he resigns from FC Schalke, but the Union would have to make some serious moves to change their payroll to compensate for the superstar.

Here are some facts to put it into perspective:

  • Last year the entire Philadelphia Union payroll added up to 2.6 million dollars.
  • This year it is estimated to be around $4 million.
  • Raúl was being paid 4 million dollars a year with FC Schalke 04.

Obviously if Raúl comes to the MLS he is expecting a smaller salary because American soccer is a smaller market. There are some small expansion teams, however, looking to build their team around a superstar. Instead the Union have been left in a position with no superstar and too high a payroll to have the ability to easily sign a superstar.

Raúl could be the leader of the Philadelphia Union team, a team still seeking a captain that can play in every game and make an offensive impact. Raúl is coming up on 500 career goals, and without ever receiving a red card he would be the perfect player the Union could rely on showing up and producing each and every game.

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Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Editorials, Union

Author:George Hall

Khandyman Sports Blog Philadelphia Union writer.

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