The Philadelphia Union have achieved one of their biggest goals of the offseason.
Midfielder Jamiro Monteiro has been signed to a permanent deal from French side FC Metz, the club announced Friday night.
The transfer fee for the 26-year-old is $2 million and Monteiro signed a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement for Jamiro to return to our club,” said Union sporting director Ernst Tanner. “When he joined the club last season, his impact on-field was immediate. He’s aggressive defensively and very strong in transition which fits in perfectly with the style of play we’ve implemented. We look forward to welcoming him back.”
Monteiro spent the 2019 Major League Soccer season on loan from Metz. During his first season with the Union, he impressed with his on-the-ball ability and play in tight spaces in the Union’s new 4-4-2 diamond formation.
The Cape Verde international made 26 appearances for the Eastern Conference side. He scored four goals and assisted on nine others.
In recent years, the Union have struggled to bring back on-loan players on a permanent basis, with the latest example being Borek Dockal after the 2018 season. He ended up going back to the Czech Republic to play for Sparta Prague.
Monteiro will headline a midfield with Alejandro Bedoya, Brenden Aaronson and new signing Jose Martinez as the Union try to build on a season in which they won their first-ever playoff game.
Locking down Monteiro for an extended time on a DP contract while playing a large sum for him is more of a statement of intent from the Union than we have seen in past offseason.
The Union signed Marco Fabian to a $2 million deal last offseason, but that deal did not include a transfer fee paid to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Monteiro proved he was worth the large price tag with his commanding two-way ability and the Union should be commended for opening the checkbook to get the deal done.
With the 26-year-old back in the fold, the Union are set to return nine players that started in the Eastern Conference semifinal loss to Atlanta United, and a 10th, Kacper Przybylko is scheduled to return from a late-season foot injury.
That means that the Union will head into preseason, which begins Jan. 18, with a majority of their starters in place and one or two other holes to fill.
It is an upgrade from a year ago, when Monteiro was acquired in March and did not take the field until Mar. 30.