Carlos Barros of Prestige Sports was generous enough to spend some of his Sunday evening chatting with PhillySportsNetwork.com about his client, Jamiro Monteiro, and his new multi-year Designated Player contract. Details of the multi-month long negotiation process, efforts from the Union’s Technical Staff, and Monteiro’s thought process along the way were all discussed.
“It’s a great deal for all parties and I think it’s a great deal for the club,” said Carlos Barros of Prestige Sports (Jamiro Monteiro’s player agent). “A lot of people don’t realize just how difficult it is to get a good player from Europe due to MLS rules on things like commissions and incentives.”
The difficulties in landing a guy like Monteiro were vast. But the Philadelphia Union and their Front Office/Technical Staff, especially Technical Director Chris Albright, poured endless time into securing Monteiro on a long-term deal.
Barros explained that Monteiro had always been a bit conservative when considering a move to Major League Soccer (MLS). Back when the Union first approached Monteiro to join on loan prior to the 2019 season, Monteiro had his reservations and needed convincing. But Albright was always the one working behind the scenes to convince not only Monteiro but Barros too, that a move to MLS can ultimately help Monteiro’s ambitious career path.
“Chris has a very big role and played a very important role in signing Jamiro in the first place because he was the one that first saw Jamiro play in Holland two years ago and immediately loved Jamiro and the way he played,” said Barros. “It was difficult for the Union to sign a player of Jamiro’s caliber back then because he was a top-five type player in the Dutch league and [FC Metz] were asking for around $3 million. It was not possible back then.”
But Albright never forgot about Monteiro. And it’s also not the first time Albright used his skills as Technical Director to land a big name.
Monteiro first popped up on the Union’s radar under the helm of Earnie Stewart. Stewart utilized his Holland connections to first locate Monteiro and ultimately established a connection that would prove very fruitful once the club agreed to a short-term loan agreement which brought Monteiro state-side.
In early March of 2019, Philadelphia secured Monteiro on a short-term loan agreement. The original loan would keep Monteiro in a Union kit for at the very least four months. Built into the agreement were club options to not only extend the loan but also placed an option to buy once the loan ended. Philadelphia was fortunate enough to both extend that loan and subsequently purchase his rights fully when they spent a club-record $1.7 million last week.
But to get Monteiro to Philadelphia on that original loan deal proved to be a bit more difficult than most assumed.
“It was basically Chris who convinced me to let the player go to the states,” said Barros. “Jamiro was a bit conservative when thinking of making a move to the states. He even said no a few times.”
Part of the reason some European players hesitate when considering a move across the pond revolves around how the rest of the world views MLS and the exposure a player may or may not get while playing in the league. A European player may feel that even if they do succeed in MLS, they may not gain much notoriety or publicity. But over the last two years, MLS has grown into a more marketable league in terms of how top players are highlighted.
Barros mentioned both he and Monteiro noticed improvements over the last 12 months. “Two years ago, there wasn’t much exposure from MLS but slowly that’s changed,” said Barros.
Highlight videos of top players are now circulating on a routine basis overseas, and a top player in the league can get the exposure he wants if he is successful.
After explaining that Monteiro remained hesitant when considering the loan agreement, Barros decided to be honest with Monteiro. “I drove to Jamiro and said I think you’re making a big mistake. I told him to at least be open to hearing the Union’s pitch,” said Barros.
“When Chris flew to Europe to meet, he explained that Jamiro could become one of the best players in MLS, which is something Jamiro has aspired to do since joining the club,” said Barros. “It’s all about convincing the agent and convincing the player.”
But getting Monteiro here on loan was just one part of an arduous process.
In early June, Philadelphia extended Monteiro’s loan to keep him for the remainder of the season. That’s also when the long-term contract negotiations began, according to Barros.
“We started negotiating about six months ago,” said Barros on Sunday. “The first two or three times, however, we didn’t reach an agreement. But the Union showed a lot of determination.”
At that point in the season, Monteiro was on a tear. From May 29th to July 3rd, Monteiro racked up two goals and five assists in just six matches – including an impressive run of multi-assist games in consecutive appearances – both on the road at NYCFC and Orlando. The impressive run of form would cloud the negotiation process.
Barros mentioned the club ultimately wanted to secure Monteiro long-term at that point in the season, but due to the impressive play from Monteiro, the final $1.7 million fee was much higher at that time.
“It was a long period of time filled with negotiations, pauses, and negotiations again,” said Barros of the multi-month long process. “Jamiro also declined a few offers because we didn’t feel the offers met our expectation levels mainly because Jamiro was peaking.”
But Philadelphia did not give up. Perhaps in years past, ownership and the Technical Staff may have simply washed their hands of it and moved on, rationalizing to themselves that the cost was just too high. But not this time. Philadelphia remained eager to keep Monteiro and followed through.
“They increased the offers a few times and showed genuine interest in keeping [Monteiro] on a long-term basis,” said Barros. “Chris and Ernst [Tanner] did a good job of setting up a plan for Jamiro to stick around for two to three seasons.”
The commitment and desire to keep Monteiro on a long-term basis was important to Barros and Monteiro. Ultimately, Monteiro envisioned his future career being bolstered by his time in Philadelphia, eyeing an opportunity to be sold as his contract expires.
“Jamiro is a very ambitious type of player and he ultimately wants to do well and be sold,” said Barros. “It’s always in a player’s best interest to stay with a club for longer than one season and eventually have an opportunity to be sold again.”
Barros rightfully credited the Union for pouring all resources into securing Monterio. But he also mentioned the relationship between Monteiro and Head Coach Jim Curtin as a main contributing factor in Monteiro’s mind.
“Jamiro has a strong connection with the Union. He likes Philadelphia and he likes Coach Jim Curtin very much,” said Barros. “I think that is one of the main reasons he wanted to stay with the club. [Curtin] showed a lot of appreciation and recognized Jamiro as a unique player from the very beginning.”
One final aspect of the negotiation process to keep in mind is the interest from clubs in Europe and clear interest from several other clubs within MLS. The outside interest created the pressure needed to keep the Union hungry.
“MLS rules prevent other MLS clubs from negotiating during that time (if a club holds player rights),” said Barros. “There was also a lot of interest from Europe and we know there was a lot of interest from several other MLS clubs.”
But at the end of it all, Philadelphia is where Monteiro felt most comfortable. And now he has a prime opportunity to fulfill a career goal of his, to become a top player in MLS in hopes of bolstering his future career path.
“MLS is growing, and I think over the last 12 months, Jamiro has noticed that as well,” said Barros.
For now, Monteiro will remain excited to rejoin the club and get a positive start on the off-season in what everyone hopes will be yet another season of success for a franchise who is most definitely following an upward trend.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union