Freddy Adu has endured a steady string of largely unsuccessful moves through Europe since leaving Major League Soccer in 2007 in search of club glory. That winding road looks ready to bring him back to the league where his career began.
Adu is being lined up as Chivas USA's first Designated Player, and could to be introduced by the Los Angeles-based club by the end of the week, sources told FOX Soccer on Wednesday.
Negotiations are still ongoing, but Chivas USA has targeted Adu as the perfect player to help the team's playoff push as well as the club's quest to secure their own soccer-specific stadium.
Adu currently has one year remaining on his contract with Benfica, but the Portuguese giant is ready to let the young American midfielder walk away from his contract after having sent him on a series of loan spells throughout Europe since signing him in 2007.
Chivas USA is making a playoff push and could certainly use Adu's playmaking ability. The Goats passed on Benny Feilhaber earlier in the season in order to maintain their place at the top of the MLS Allocation Order, which determines which teams have first crack at US national team players who return to MLS, but Chivas USA may actually be able to keep that top spot by signing Adu as a Designated Player.
Under that scenario, Chivas USA could add a second high-profile American player, with free agent forward Eddie Johnson a possibility.
A return to MLS would be an ideal move for Adu, who has struggled for consistent playing time in Europe, but did enjoy a strong run with Turkish second division side Rizespor last spring. Adu's performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the semifinals and final turned heads and showed signs that Adu could be poised for a breakout run of form.
A move to Chivas USA would re-unite Adu with head coach Robin Fraser, who was an assistant at Real Salt Lake when Adu was with RSL in 2007, his final MLS season before departing for Europe.
By returning to Chivas USA, Adu would also find himself playing nearby new US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and would also help Adu be a part of the US Olympic Team in 2012, assuming the United States qualifies for the London Games.
Adu's first tenure in MLS was over-hyped and lacked results. He was a part of DC United's MLS Cup-winning side in 2004. His four seasons in MLS were filled with occasional flashes of brilliance, though never consistent success.
Some four years later, Adu is a more polished player and an admittedly more mature and grounded person, one who has seen the sting of club disappointments over the years force him to grow up quickly.
By signing Adu, Chivas USA would be adding a high-profile player who could help the team's push for their own stadium, with the club currently scouting locations in the Los Angeles area. Chivas USA currently shares Home Depot Center with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
It wouldn't be the first time Adu has helped a team's stadium push. His move to Real Salt Lake is credited with helping play a part in RSL securing what is now Rio Tinto Stadium.