Personally, I think this is a stretch.
But since I respect Matthew Doyle’s work, and because this stuff is always fun to talk about, even if it does wander into the dark, conspiratorial corners of Magic Loogie territory, let’s get into it:
Doyle, senor Armchair Analyst for MLSSoccer.com, has himself a theory: He wonders aloud if Maurice Edu at center back in tomorrow’s friendly with Mexico – plenty of signs point that way – is more about helping the former Rangers’ man land at the best possible club address.
With Ipswich Town kicking the tires, reports of interest from Valencia of Spain must have felt like the first sip of a cool, minty mojito on the hottest August day for Edu.
Because Valencia, more or less No. 3 on the La Liga totem poll, represents a major elevation change over Ipswich in England’s second tier. (Damn pretty place, too. Valencia, that is … not Ipswich, although I’m sure it’s lovely, too. Ahem. Let’s just move on.)
Frankly, I think Edu along the back line is more about Klinsmann looking at his limited options, twisting his lips, craning his head in puzzlement and finally assessing that Edu on the back line represents the very best chance of avoiding a full-fledged 6-1 teeth-rattling Azteca Assualt.
Doyle sure is correct about one thing: that Klinsmann sees high value in getting his men into the tippy-top possible club situations. And the coach has shown he’s willing to facilitate in those pursuits. So getting Edu into best possible positioning for a run at Valencia employment might mean showing that the man can man-up as a central defender. What Doyle says in the piece linked above:
But there’s virtually no chance that Edu can play in the midfield for a team of Valencia’s caliber. He doesn’t read the game well enough in 360 degrees, and is always more comfortable when things are playing out in front of him. We’ve also seen plenty of shanked 22-yard shots from him, enough to know that he’s not going to add Michael Bradley-esque offense when pushing forward.
What Edu has the raw materials for, however, is the center of defense. I think Valencia see that much, and I also think that if he’d gone anywhere but Rangers he’d have been pushed into that spot after his great performance there in the 2008 Olympics.