Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/17/13
Freddy Adu‘s long, strange journey as a professional soccer player is about to take another twist. The Philadelphia Union outcast is close to completing a transfer to Brazilian club Esporte Clube Bahia (better known as “Bahia”). He will travel to Brazil this week to finalize the move, according to Soccer By Ives. Clubs in South Korea, Japan, Mexico and Australia were reportedly interested in signing Adu, but Bahia looks to have secured the services of the former soccer prodigy. The transfer would see Adu join the biggest club in one of Brazil’s largest cities — Salvador, Bahia. Bahia finished 15th in the 2012 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (Brazilian first division) and is currently competing in the Bahia state championship. The 2013 Serie A season kicks off in late May, so Adu should be ready to test himself in the top flight by then. Bahia would be the ninth stop in Adu’s nomadic career. He has previously played for clubs in the U.S., Portugal, France, Greece and Turkey. Adu’s career has been in limbo in recent months, as the Union have sought to move him out of the club. He is Philadelphia’s highest-paid player (he was set to make $600,000 in 2013), but it decided not to include him in its plans for the season. He didn’t take part in the team’s preseason camp and he hasn’t played in its first three MLS games this season. Adu told ESPN that he’s been “frozen out” by the Union because he refused to take a 75 percent pay cut. Philadelphia has been unsuccessful in its attempts to trade Adu to another MLS team. Transferring him to Bahia would give the Union the salary-cap relief it seeks. Adu signed with Philadelphia in August 2011, hoping a return to the U.S. would kick-start his career. Things didn’t pan out that way, as he only made 35 total appearances (26 starts) for the club. He fell out of favor with head coach John Hackworth toward the end of last season, and he only played in one of Philadelphia’s last nine games of the 2012 campaign. 2012 was also a difficult year for Adu at the international level. He was the captain and leader on the U.S. squad that failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic games, and his absence from the senior national team dates back to August 2011. Joining Bahia would bring Adu’s second spell in MLS to a close. Perhaps the next phase in his career will have a sunnier outcome than the last. Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.
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