Frustrated at a lack of playing time, Philadelphia Union defender Bakary Soumare has requested a trade away from PPL Park, and it looks like the Union are going to shop him around. The prospect is certain to have several MLS clubs salivating, but are the New England Revolution among them?
Speaking solely on Soumare's merits, it's a move that can only improve the Revolution defense. He was a nominee for MLS Defender of the Year in 2008 back when he was with Chicago, he has top-flight experience in Europe (and he captained Boulogne after they were relegated), he's a senior international with Mali, and at 27, he's in the prime of his career. He's big (6'4"), aggressive, physical, and athletic, but has proven himself a class defender as well.
Of course, he's only made one appearance with the Union since joining the team via allocation last season. He was limited by injury last season, and apparently wasn't even given a chance to get the starting job this year. On a young, in-flux team like Philadelphia, you have to wonder if there's more going into his lack of playing time than anyone is letting on.
From the Revolution perspective, though, it's not certain that this move would make sense. It really comes down to price; for a relatively young, experienced, and quality defender, the Union have every right to ask for a lot. Granted, Soumare requested a trade, and other teams will leverage that into getting a more favorable bargain, but it's still an issue. Be it players, picks, or allocation money, Soumare's price tag isn't going to be thrift shop-level. Oh, and he was paid $260,000 last year.
Apart from price considerations, there are roster issues to think about. The Revs are sitting at 29 of 30 players, and they're already planning to use spot 30 on an international forward. To maintain that course of action, they'd have to sacrifice a player currently on the roster to bring in Soumare. That's not necessarily a major issue, but it's something to consider.
Furthermore, who in the defense has to sit if Soumare comes in? He's looking for playing time, not to exchange one bench for another. Do you sit Jose Goncalves, your heralded offseason acquisition? Do you sit A.J. Soares, your burgeoning young leader and arguably your best ball-handling central defender? Can Soumare play out wide, and if so, does he replace Farrell or Alston? It's a lot to think about from a team-building perspective, as well.
Should the Revs be in for Soumare? Share your thoughts below.