Poku remains a hot commodity; nearly traded to Union this summer

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

On Thursday afternoon, American soccer legend and Fox Soccer pundit Eric Wynalda revealed via Twitter that up to eight clubs from Europe are in the hunt for wildly popular New York City FC super-sub Kwadwo Poku.

That is just the latest in a season filled with interest for the NYCFC spark plug. The Ghanian midfielder enjoyed a tremendous year with the expansion NYCFC — one made even more interesting thanks to several behind the scenes moves that never quite panned out.

First and foremost is a trade to the Philadelphia Union. EoS has learned that Poku nearly made a move to the City of Brotherly Love as early as this July. According to well-placed sources, Poku came “very close” to joining Philadelphia in the secondary MLS trade window just prior to the arrivals of both Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard. Head coach Jim Curtin and NYCFC boss Jason Kreis were said to be spearheading the possible transaction.

What remains unclear, however, is the value that would go back to New York and the reason for the the deal falling through. One source claims allocation money would have been in the mix and another, a player swap. Whatever the case may be,  just as a deal appeared complete, NYCFC shut down all communication with Philadelphia.

As for the reasons behind the demise of this deal, sources believe that NYCFC either a) decided at a high level to squash the deal outright or b) were forced to end conversations after a red-hot performance from the midfielder this summer. Keep in mind; this was at a time when fans were chanting for Poku over more established, legendary players like Lampard and Pirlo. The fan outcry alone would have devastated the club.

While several reliable sources have stepped up to confirm this report, an NYCFC spokesperson denies such a move was ever in the works, let alone entertained.

NYCFC AD

Whatever the case may be, that isn’t the only time outside clubs have come calling for Poku this season. While at preseason training in England this winter, Manchester City inquired about a possible stay for Poku with their academy.

As the season progressed, Bundesliga clubs in both the first and second division began actively reaching out to the former Atlanta Silverbacks midfielder over a move as well.

While none of this has panned out in Poku’s favor, he still managed an incredibly successful season as a bit player under the NYCFC umbrella. He has featured in 26 matches, starting only six, but managing four goals and seven assists in just 944 minutes this season. In other words, Poku played a part in nearly 23% of the team’s goals on the season despite playing the equivalent of ten and a half matches.

That production earned him his first cap with Ghana last week, playing seven minutes in a draw against Canada at RFK Stadium.

What will Poku’s future hold? That remains to be seen. However, it is clear the former NASL and NPSL talent will have options come this offseason.

 

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  • Rip

    Kreis’ reluctance to use Poku as anything other than a late sub this season has been his biggest coaching failure.

    • William

      the fool s/b fired I have no patience for Kries anymore

  • Anonymous

    ^ This…

  • Calvin

    Honestly, what does Kreis have against Poku? Why trade him within MLS? I could understand if some European team wants to put a transfer bid for him, but to trade him to the Union? And who would the Union have that could provide any interest? Knowing Kreis he probably wanted Sebastian Le Toux…

  • The insider

    Kreis has nothing against Poku. He was forced to play Play Pirlo & Lampard, neither of whom he wanted. So, he wanted to move Poku for allocation money to use on a defender so he could maybe stop the goal leakage.

    It is a very bad situation at NYCFC. It’s like the Man City Football Colony.

    The Don is pulling out what few remaining hairs he has left.

    Coupled with the fact that their season ticket renewals are behind what they anticipated it is a deep cause for concern.

    • DanGerman

      Hey insider, they just announced that they sold out of the season tickets this year at 20K. So I just that just shows how much of an “insider” you are.

      • The insider

        Yes, for this year. I’m talking 2016. They also expected more.

        Don’t believe me, but everything I’ve said so far has come true. So, you will see. Whether you wish to believe me or not is your business.

        • slowleftarm

          I haven’t paid close attention to your posts but can you name any “inside information” you’ve provided that’s has actually happened?

          • DanGerman

            Not a single thing he’s said has come true, so yeah I don’t believe a word.

        • The Real insider

          Everyone is an insider.

          I am an insider I will tell you that Kreis will be fired.

        • DanGerman

          They managed to sign up 2k season tickets for this year for the founding members benefits. The only reason to get them now is for the reduced price for next season. So again I think you’re full of it. I’ll be on the look out for you on Sunday when over 30K show up. Will you be wearing the “end is near” sign?

      • William

        yea and another losing season – what are you a money changer ? always with the attendance – u bore me

        • slowleftarm

          What do you mean “another” losing season? They’ve only played one season so far.

    • Calvin

      They didn’t need allocation money, they needed an international slot. They already brought in 3 defenders this summer (Angelino, Iraola, and Mena) and could’ve brought in one more but didn’t have anymore international slots available. So this Poku trade wouldn’t have fixed that unless Kreis was set on getting an MLS defender. But it’s not like there are many of those that are good either. So that’s not really adding up to me. Kreis has repeatedly shown in his post games and pressers that he wants everyone to slow down on the Poku bandwagon. Criticized his fitness early on. Then he refused to talk about him. And he would make it a point to knock his defense or other parts of his game everytime he had a big game that helped us win. So that’s where I’m coming from when I say Kreis didn’t like Poku much. And now we find out he was willing to trade him to the Union, a regional rival and play in the same conference. He thought so little of Poku he didn’t mind giving him to a team we would play 2 or 3 times a season.

    • Rip

      Well if you have Pirlo and Lampard on your roster……you are in effect “forced to play them. It’s not like their has to be a meeting for you to be told….they are big money players, you can’t sit them on the bench. Any coach with ownership willing to spend money will have that problem. The point is that if you can’t recognize Poku’s ability, and then find a way for him to be on the field with those players….then you’re failing at your job.

  • William

    Wait I tought Larry the angry little troll was the OFFICIAL INSIDER

    • slowleftarm

      LOL…have to love angry bill calling someone else an “angry troll”

      That’s a good one.