In what will feel like a great holiday gift to Philadelphia Union fans, today the club announced the signing of 24-year-old Brazilian striker Sergio Santos.
Santos had been rumored to be in contract negotiations about a week ago with the Union. Now Ernst Tanner has made his first signing as Philadelphia Union sporting director. Here’s a look at what Santos can bring to the Union’s front line.
Speed, agility and goal-scoring:
Let's take our first look at Santos from his time at Audax Italiano 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/ltZ8jYopSX
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) December 14, 2018
The film on Santos shows why the Union wanted to go after the young Brazilian. Ernst Tanner said this of Santos in the clubs press release on the signing of Santos:
“When we met with him in Chile, it became apparent that he is a good fit for our club both as a player and as a person. He took an unconventional route going to Chile on his own at age 19, but we have observed rapid improvement and development at Audax, and believe he is ready for this next step. We next look forward to integrating him as quickly as possible with the team at the start of preseason.”
Obviously Tanner sees qualities in Santos that will benefit the Union. Some of those qualities that stand out are his speed, agility and goal-scoring. It’s clear Santos has speed to kill, which could help the Union play in behind their opponents. He loves to take defenders on, and is very agile when given the chance to make a defender look silly. With that raw ability has come the knack for scoring. Santos will pull the trigger when given the chance, which is something the Union struggled with in years past.
The young forwards skill set makes him a good fit for the Union’s system, and he actually wanted to come to Philadelphia!
Sergio Santos wanted to come to Philadelphia:
24 year old Brazilian striker Sergi Santos reveals on local Chilean radio that he is headed to play for Philadelphia Union ."They came to see me, sat down to talk to me, Necaxa only spoke to me on the phone, I noticed that [Philly] was more personal…" #MLS #DOOP pic.twitter.com/nPG9dHcmZ5
— MLS Buzz (@MLS_Buzz) December 5, 2018
Sergio Santos spoke about his future to a Chilean Radio station ADN Radio that he had two offers from clubs; one from the Union and one from Liga Mx side Club Necaxa. In the interview he said he preferred to come to Philadelphia because of their personal touch they had in negotiations. This touch is something that is very promising and shows how they’re righting past wrongs when it comes to scouting South American players.
Santos is the first South American signing by the Philadelphia Union in two years. Ilsinho was the last South American player brought in, back in 2016. This signing ends a concerning trend. many MLS teams have found great contributing, and title-winning players form South America over the past five years at least.
The Union have always struggled to scout this area of the Globe in the past. Now, Tanner shows he values that area and sees the Union finding talent there to push them to the next level. What will please everyone is how much the Union paid for Santos.
Union get Santos for a bargain transfer fee:
The Union have their first major signing of the Ernst Tanner era.
Sergio Santos’ move to Philadelphia is now official. He’ll be a Targeted Allocation Money signing and the Union reportedly paid a $500,000 transfer fee to get him:https://t.co/MXCV3HqVeD
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) December 14, 2018
According to the Philly Inquirer, Santos’ transfer fee was paid for with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). This will mean that Santos is not a DP or young DP, but that he’s someone the Union wanted to spend money on. The fee paid to Chilean club Audax Italiano is reported to be $500,000. This is $70,000 less than what his market value is reported to be according to TransferMarkt.
If this report is accurate, then it is a good deal of business from the Union’s front office. With Santos’ services also coveted by Liga MX side Club Necaxa, one would think that they would have outbid the Union, even though it was not the players desired destination. In the end Audax Italiano chose to accept Philadelphia’s offer, which will make Santos happy, and gives the Union fans a look into how Tanner, and the Union front office, are going that extra mile to connect with prospective players, rather than just doing business with the player’s club.
Santos is the first Union rumor to turn into a signing in quite a while. Which shows you how the Union are operating this off-season.
A rumor that turned into a signing:
Here's what I wrote on the rumor of Santos to the Union 10 days ago…
Seems like he'll fit in Tanner's system well, not to mention he wanted to come to Philadelphia! #DOOP pic.twitter.com/j4dKY0iPBa
— Tim Lovenguth (@Tim_Lovenguth) December 14, 2018
10 days ago I wrote an article dissecting how Philadelphia Union transfer rumors were back, and in that article I included the blurb above about the Santos rumor. This shows that if Tanner has not come out to rebuke a rumor, that it is most likely a move the Union are trying to pull off.
Santos shows the type of skill the Union want from their attacking players. His pace and goal-scoring give the Union another attacking option, Santos himself wanted to come here and he was brought in for less than his market value. On paper this seems like a huge win for Philadelphia. The Union gain a forward who has 19 goals in 42 appearances for his previous club, coming off a year where he lead Audax Italiano in scoring with nine goals.
If he can team up well with Fafa Picault and Corey Burke then the Union could have a very lethal attack. That coupled with the Union keeping David Accam and CJ Sapong, and having them possibly bounce back in 2019, then we could see the Union having five attackers who could all score double digits. For now, it’s time to wait and see how the rest of the off-season plays out. As for Santos, we’ll have to wait for preseason to see how he produces on the field.
Sergio Santos Highlights from 2018:
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: RedGol.cl