Mexico National Team attacking midfielder Marco Fabián officially was announced by Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer earlier today. The deal is for “one year plus plus” according to Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner, which he clarified to be a year long deal with options for two more. He also spoke of doing “a favor” for Fabián’s prior club Eintracht Frankfurt by way of including giving 5% of any sell-on to the Bundesliga club. While Fabián’s salary has not been disclosed, he will be a Designated Player making more than (as of 2018) the $504,375 threshold.
Fabián will most likely play the role of attacking midfielder with the Union, whose prior number 10 Czech international Bořek Dočkal returned to his Chinese Super League club Henan Jianye. With the Union, Dočkal lead the league with 17 assists and contributed 5 goals. Union manager Jim Curtin did talk a bit about Fabián’s positional flexibility, but the Union’s real need is a playmaking attacking midfielder.
Fabián is indisputably the biggest name to play for Philadelphia in their brief history, and notably the first Mexican National Team player. The Union has had players who have played in Liga MX before though, with current Lobos BUAP defender Michael Orozco playing in the team’s inaugural season in 2010. Other than that only one other player with ties to Mexico has ever signed with the team, Homegrown Player Cristhian Hernández signed in 2012 and made two appearances before being cut in 2014.
Fabián does have some history with the Philadelphia Union. As a member of Chivas de Guadalajara, he played in a 2010 friendly against the Philadelphia Union at their stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.
There is a large Mexican community in Philadelphia and its suburbs, however the Union has historically not done much outreach to it. The club’s official Spanish-language twitter account has been dormant since 2016, and the coverage in local television and radio (in both English and Spanish) is scant. Union Chief Business Officer Tim McDermott confirmed in a tweet that “We have been in discussions all off season with local Spanish media outlets for radio and TV game broadcast. It is a priority for us. Hopefully we can make it happen this season.” however as of this writing nothing has been announced.
We have been in discussions all off season with local Spanish media outlets for radio and TV game broadcast. It is a priority for us. Hopefully we can make it happen this season.— Tim McDermott (@TimMcDermott6) February 6, 2019
The Union have a good opportunity with the Fabián signing to make up for lost time with an important part of the fabric of southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware. A healthy Fabián will be one of the better players in the league, and it’s up to the Union to make good on that star power.