Michael Farfan (in blue) is set to train with Sunderland for a week.
According to Ives Galarcep, the well connected editor-in-chief of US soccer blog "Soccer By Ives" and columnist for Fox Sports, Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan is set for a week of training with Sunderland soon.
EDIT: This has now been confirmed by the official Philadelphia Union website. Two week trial, returns to Philly on January 24th for MLS pre-season. Kudos to The Brotherly Game for breaking it to us.
I'll be the first to admit, I've never heard of him. In fact, most people we asked seemed to have him confused with Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan, whom he is definitely not.
With a quick scout around the internet and with some liberal use of Wikipedia, we could probably tell you all about him and look oh so big and clever. We're not going to do that.
Instead, we went to a trusted source for all things Philadelphia Union in the shape of Scott Kessler, Managing Editor of SB Nations own Union blog "The Brotherly Game" to fill us in on exactly who Michael Farfan is, and what he could bring to Sunderland should any moves be made.
So now we'll hand you over to Scott to give you the details...Michael Farfan's time with the English club will mark the fifth time that a Philadelphia Union player has spent time training with a team in Europe (the others being Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath, Zach Pfeffer and Freddy Adu).
The 23-year-old played his way into the Union's starting line up during his rookie year, despite not being afforded a specific niche to fill during the early part of the 2011 MLS season. Union head coach Piotr (Peter) Nowak utilized Farfan as a fullback at times, while his brother, Gabriel Farfan, learned how to play left back and eventually started at the position.
Eventually Farfan was given time at his natural attacking midfield position, sent to roam the right side of the field. Farfan developed into one of the best rookies in MLS, taking his right midfield role and proving that his descent from a first round SuperDraft prospect, to a mid-second round selection by the Union was a mistake by the other 17 teams in the league. His Latin flair, aided by speed and agility, helped to add some creativity to the Union's offense.
Farfan showed off his ability with both feet multiple times, including a wicked strike with his weak foot (left) at one point. His adeptness on the ball was rewarded with a few goals, along with a few assists, including a beautiful chipped goal in the Union's international friendly game against Real Madrid. Though the stadium was filled with mostly Madrid supporting fans, the entire crowd stood up and cheered the magnificent effort.
See Farfan's exquisite goal against Real Madrid here from 1:19 onwards.
The former USMNT youth system member will most likely just be heading to Sunderland to fulfill the request of Jurgen Klinsmann to have more MLS players heading overseas to extend their seasons. Farfan was a member of many youth international sides and most likely wants to re-position himself to try to get back on the radar of the national team in the future.
Even if Farfan was to impress the managerial staff at Sunderland enough to turn his training period into a trial, it's unlikely his time in England would turn into a transfer of any sort. Working permits in England are hard enough to come by for players that have any caps at all with national teams, let alone someone like Farfan who has none at the moment.
So as we can see from what Scott's told us, good player, but unlikely to make a permanent move unless the Department of Work & Pensions are feeling like being nice to us, but it's certainly encouraging that we're continuing to cast the net far and wide in search of talent.
We've seen the way that 'cheap punts' like James McClean have worked out, so if we want to take a few more I'm all for it.
Many thanks go to Scott Kessler for filling us in on Farfan, and make sure you head to The Brotherly Game (click here) for any further news on whether a move for Farfan is made. Also, follow along on Twitter too @BrotherlyGame