Tanner: "It's really a great day for the Union," more from presser on signing Marco Fabián

After announcing that Philadelphia Union had signed Mexican International playmaker Marco Fabián from Eintracht Frankfurt, Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner and Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke to the media about the importance of having a world class creator pulling the strings in 2019. 
 
Both men were clear about the effect that they expect the 29-year old to have on the field this year. "He's a part of our team that could be used for marketing reasons, but we don't sign players for that reason only," Tanner began. "We have him here for improving our game, for improving our performance, winning games, and especially the right things which is scoring goals and getting assists.
 
"That's the job for a No. 10."
 
 Curtin agreed, and added that while the Union would ask a lot of Fabián it was important to note that the player is joining a team coming off a playoff run. "You're adding a top international to a team that won 19 games last year.
 
"He'll embrace that leadership role, to be the big time player. On a night when we're not our best, he's the one that scores a goal and makes a difference in a 0-0 game."
 
Going deeper into the details of the deal that brought Fabián to Philadelphia, Tanner described the deal as a one-year agreement with team options for two more seasons. "We have one year plus options, which allows us everything in our hands," he explained, and added: "There was no transfer fee."
 
Both men outlined a range of factors that resulted in the Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup veteran beginning the next chapter of his career in Philly. Tanner pointed to the player's desire to be in MLS despite more lucrative offers on the table, and said that Fabián's familiarity with the City of Brotherly Love and the Union's facilities also played a key role in getting the transfer completed. "He knew everything," Tanner said. "He knew the stadium, he knew the training ground, and that for sure played a major role in the deal as well."
 
"Chris Albright went down to Frankfurt, met with Marco, had good meetings watched him in training and different things," Curtin added. "There was a positive feel from both sides after the talks that Chris had. 
 
"And obviously Ernst is connected in Germany as well. Between the two of them doing the work, things got done relatively quickly and I think it was a really positive connection that both sides had."
 
Another topic that Tanner and Curtin agreed on was that Fabián's previous back surgery would not be an issue going forward. "I think the more we've learned about the back injury and what happened with Fenerbahce and different things - some of that is false," Curtin smiled. "We obviously have a very good medical staff ourselves, the people of Frankfurt do a great job so a lot of things were overblown in that regard."
 
Tanner was even more emphatic. He passed the medical, and that's the most important information," the Sporting Director shrugged. "Apart from that, it's not that difficult for me to find out what really happened and the condition he's in.
 
"We also got a confirmation from the physio at Frankfurt about his training record, and except for a couple of days when he had a knock on his knee in 2018 - and he had a cold and was out for another three days - that's everything that happened in 2018. And the surgery with his vertebrae was completely well done and that's what the radiology today also proved. He's fit, he can play, he can start with us in preseason here, so that is not a real big question."
 
The final issues addressed in the press conference centered around what Fabián would do for the Union on the pitch and what he meant for the club off of it. 
 
"He's played with Mexico as a [No.] 10, a [No.] 8, a box-to-box guy, he's played as a second forward for Frankfurt," Curtin said. "So he has that flexibility that he can bring to your roster. 
 
When you can bring in this type of player it changes how opponents can prepare for you, day in and day out. It's a special day in our club's history to bring in a player of this echelon, so happy to get to work but exactly what position he'll wind up being: He's been brought here play as a 10. Are there moments where we play with two 10s when we're at home? Are there moments where we play with two 8s on the road? That's still to be determined and we have some things to work through in preseason. 
 
But Ernst has put a good system in place and we'll put the best 11 players on the field to win games each week and obviously Marco will be one of the players that's on the field in every one of those games."
 
Tanner noted further that with the club's new system in place, he needed to find a player that could act as an offensive spark plug while executing a demanding set of defensive tasks. "Since we are playing a different style, it was also important to fetch a player in that important position who could fulfill our requirements," the German explained. "From all I see now, we have a better squad in comparison to last season, and a better roster, but we need to grow together now.
 
"Players like Marco can really work as a role model for [Anthony Fontana and Brenden Aaronson]," he added. "Especially with the training process, they can learn a lot out of it."
 
"It's really a great day for the Union," Tanner concluded. "A great day for all of us and I think we're going to have a lot of fun with him. 
 
"We spoke to him just a couple of hours before and he's also happy, looking forward to doing his best for the Union."
Fans will get their first chance to see Fabian in action at Talen Energy Stadium on March 2 when Philly opens the 2019 season against Toronto FC.

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