Philadelphia Union fans got a Christmas present two days early with the news that they acquired 21-year-old Argentinan attacker Julián Carranza on loan from Inter Miami CF for the 2022 season. The Union is taking advantage of a low-risk-high-reward loan with a buy option for an unproven MLS striker. Philly gains a striker for their campaign that is only 65 days away; the question is, will this player be one that truly makes a difference in 2022?
The Union was a consistent striker away from making their first-ever MLS Cup in 2021. Sporting director Ernst Tanner pledged he’d be going out looking for strikers to help bolster the Union’s forward depth. Things are off to a great start with the addition of Carranza.
The young Argentinian spent the last two seasons with Inter Miami CF. His first two seasons were not great; 2020 brought a fractured season, and 2021 was one where injuries plagued the striker. Add that to the mess that is Inter Miami’s too many DP players problem, and a log jam at the striker position, and Carranza wasn’t able to light MLS on fire.
Philly is looking to take advantage of a low-risk-high-reward situation by giving Carranza a fresh start in 2022. It’s low risk because they got a highly valued striker for a full season without giving up much value at all. Best-case scenario, the guy uses the opportunity to light the league on fire in 2022; worst-case scenario he continues to be a streaky striker who only gives the Union more depth at the forward position. Either way, it’s a smart bit of business by Tanner
Another savvy move by Tanner
The Union just got a player who is worth anywhere between $3.5 million to $6 million, only gave up a second-round SuperDraft pick for his services, and has the option to make the loan permanent with a purchase after the 2022 season. This automatically elevates the striker core the Union has as the young-DP has proven he’s already better than what Davo gave the Union in 2021. Ernst Taner spoke about the signing once it was made official.
“We’re excited to welcome Julián to the Philadelphia Union and add a promising young attacker with a lot of potential to our roster. “He is aggressive in the box and brings the versatility of a natural center forward who fits the profile of a striker we were looking for, as well as our style of play. We look forward to welcoming him to the team and watching him develop in our system.”-Sporting Director: Ernst Tanner
Julián gives the Union another type of striker and one whose quality has not shown through yet in MLS. This signing may not solve the Union’s problem of being a consistent striker away from winning things like the MLS Cup in 2022, but the addition is one that shows the Union’s intent to get better. Tanner will still be on the lookout for a consistent striker to add to the attacking core, but could he have struck gold with Carranza?
While he isn’t the typical big named, or highly valued consistent foreign signing Union fans may have wanted, this signing could be one that helps Philly attack match the level of play at the other spots on the field. While the Union did have a forward who scored over 15 goals across two competitions in 2021, there was no clear attacking threat when the team needed it most. Will a young-DP looking to prove himself help push the Union over that edge?
It may be unlikely, but if Tanner saw the potential in Carranza to come to Philly and push for starting minutes in 2022, then this could be the guy that was missing in crucial moments in 2021. While Carranza’s track record isn’t great or consistent over the past two seasons, maybe the Union’s system could unleash him to find his true potential.
Tanner will still be working hard to get that difference-maker at striker, but right now the Union’s attack is better than it was yesterday with Carranza on the roster. We’ll have to wait and see what his role will be in Philly. Whether it’s as an impact sub or a breakthrough starter.
Tanner and the Union are putting in work this offseason to bolster their attack to build off of their strong midfield and defense. As the other transfer windows open in January, there could be even more additions to Philly that will help them get over the hump. This is the first step, not the only step, to the Union being a true contender in 2022!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union