Discussing Philadelphia Union’s new signing, striker Sergio Santos, Sporting Director Ernst Tanner confirmed both the price of the player and the club’s strong desire to sign him before other teams recognized his talent.
Tanner said the Union payed a $500,000 buy-out clause to acquire the attacker from Audax Italiano and that, “for a striker like him I would say this is not too much money at all.”
“He’s an upcoming striker,” the Sporting Director continued, “And he had a fantastic season over in Chile so fortunately, we had a lot of games to watch of him and follow him via video. Finally, we traveled down twice and had to watch him live and had the meetings; I was once there as well.
“I think he’s the perfect fit for our future playing style and can cover quite a lot of positions in attack. He can play almost everything there!”
The match between player and club was partially driven by both the Union’s focus on nurturing and playing young talent and Santos’ desire to refine his skill set as he moves toward his prime years. “I don’t think that he was going for the money,” Tanner explained, “He was going for his development. That’s what we made clear to him, that he will get that in Philadelphia. And, ultimately, it was convincing to him.”
Tanner described a versatile player who will be able to carve out a role throughout Philly’s attacking line. “He’s quick and really stable. He’s very good at maintaining the ball and putting his body in between the ball and his opponent so he can also be good in hold up play.
“By the way,” Tanner noted, “He is left-footed, which is something that we don’t have on our roster in attack. All together, these items make him an almost perfect fit for our future squad.
“He’s different from all our strikers we have. Not only the fact that he is left-footed — that makes a difference — but the way he is playing which you should have seen from the clips we offered to you on the website and that shows a lot."
“I think he really is the one that we were looking for and that’s why we were trying hard to get him.”
There were rumblings that other clubs — notably from Liga MX — were chasing Santos, and Tanner confirmed that the Union fought off competition to land the high-upside attacker. “There were a lot of rumors about the player, but we were the first ones to approach him,” Tanner said. “He also wanted to come to America instead of another country who was competing really hard with us.”
As to whether Santos will be the first in a series of offseason signings, Tanner was coy but hinted that this would not be the final announcement before the 2019 season begins. “At current we are away a lot, talking to quite a few players, and I’m still over here in Europe and about to head to Africa tomorrow.
“I think we have a few options we can pull, especially when the transfer window here is going to open. I think we are on our way, good on time, and we will probably have some news in the beginning of January.
“I can promise that Sergio was not the last player we are going to sign.”