Stoke City snaps up another United States international, simultaneously liberating Maurice Edu from Scotland’s fourth-division. Edu joins Geoff Cameron on Trent, against whom he may end up competing for playing time in the Potters’ midfield.
Who is he: Edu is versatile 26-year-old central midfielder who joined Rangers from Toronto FC in 2008. After two injury-filled seasons in Glasgow, the former first overall MLS draft pick established himself as a regular in Rangers’ midfield, scoring a goal against Valencia in 2010 Champions League play. He was part of league title-winning teams in 2009, 2010, and 2011. After making his international debut in 2007, has been capped 37 times by the U.S. men’s national team.
What does he do: Edu combines the athleticism to play a box-to-box role with the strength to play central defense, if needed. More ball-winner than playmaker, Edu’s capable of complementing a number of different types of midfielders, even if his physical gifts will often leave onlookers asking for more than they’ll get. He’s still at the point of his career where he can be asked (and expected) to add another dimension. Where he’s played at Stoke may determine if that dimension is in attack or defense.
How much did he cost: Undisclosed, but probably not much. Rangers needed to move him on, and given Edu was being linked with clubs in England’s second division, demand probably wasn’t very high (by Premier League standards).
How does he fit: It’s a sigh-inducing transfer for Stoke fans. Edu is good value and provides some desperately needed athleticism to Stoke’s midfield, but if you’re making a list of Potter needs, this isn’t near the top. Unfortunately, this is more of the same for a Tony Pulis squad which, by the end of the day, could have Edu, Cameron, Adam, and Steve N’Zonzi (being pursued by Stoke) in central midfield. Adam provides something different, but the rest? It all looks like a clever Pulis ploy to play as many central defenders as possible.
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