Transfer News

Union will extend Monteiro’s loan for year, full transfer not complete

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union won’t have to worry about the club losing midfielder Jamiro Monteiro in the midst of a potentially franchise-best season.

“It is not a big secret that we will extend his loan until the end of the season, for sure, and we have now the flexibility for that,” Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner told The Philly Soccer Page on Tuesday. “That’s the good news.”

Monteiro was initially acquired in early March on a four-month loan through June from FC Metz, who won France’s Ligue 2 this spring. The deal included both an option to extend the loan through the duration of the 2019 MLS season and an option to buy the player, Tanner said.

The decision to extend the loan is an easy one. Monteiro has been a revelation since joining the Union. The Dutch-born Cape Verdean has two goals and two assists in six starts, and that’s to say nothing of the player’s defensive success in Philadelphia’s press. He also scored the game-winning goal in Saturday’s road victory over Toronto FC.

While extending the loan is simple, keeping Monteiro in Philadelphia beyond 2019 is much more complex.

Issue 1: Transfer fee

The first issue is the transfer fee.

Tanner confirmed the cost was set but declined to name the price.

Monteiro’s agent, Carlos Barros of Prestige Sports, also declined to name the exact number but told PSP, “It’s more or less the figure that FC Metz paid for him.” Barros also said that fee was “a little under €3 million,” or about $3.36 million.

Transfermarkt lists the tranfer fee FC Metz paid to Dutch Eredivisie club Heracles Almelo for Monteiro at $3.42 million. It’s unlikely the Union could acquire the player for anything less than that, as the Cape Verde international was FC Metz’s most expensive signing during the 2018 summer window. With his return to form, it’s difficult to envision the French club taking less than the previously agreed upon price despite Monteiro not appearing for them since October.

It’s a number that dwarfs the Union’s previous transfer fee record. It’s more than double the $1.2 million Philadelphia sent to Chicago Fire for winger David Accam in 2018, and Tanner admits it could be a hurdle in acquiring Monteiro long-term.

It also sheds more light on the moves to unload two assets buried on the depth chart while they still had value. Accam was traded to Columbus Crew and Homegrown midfielder Derrick Jones was sent to Nashville SC; the deals brought back a combined $675,00 in allocation money while shedding salary.

Issue 2: Salary

Salary is the second issue — and it might be the most challenging to overcome.

“Jamiro was on a very big wage in France, and he even accepted a much lower salary than he has to be able to play in MLS,” Barros said. “In the end, we made the choice because the league would be very good for him and because of the eagerness Philadelphia showed to have him.”

That discount could be temporary. Monteiro, like all players, wants to earn what he’s worth, and financials played a key role in delaying the midfielder’s first appearance for Philadelphia.

Twenty-five days passed from when the Union announced the acquisition on March 5 to the midfielder’s debut on March 30. While there were some visa issues, wages owed from FC Metz were the main reason. After the move was official, the French club attempted to avoid paying bonuses owed to Monteiro. The sum was too much for the player to waive.

“That was an issue which needed to be solved between the player and the club,” said Tanner. “From our side we did everything well, and we got told when we brought him over for the medical that everything was cleared. Obviously, it wasn’t. Finally, we had to solve that situation with a little bit of pressure and a good agreement, which should be fine now.”

The Union are paying Monteiro over MLS’s $530,000 maximum salary budget charge but bought down the total using targeted allocation money. It’s possible that signing the player long-term would require allocating one of their three Designated Player slots to Monteiro.

“That’s what we need to solve in addition [to the transfer fee],” admitted Tanner. “It’s a tricky thing in a way, but we will see. The most important thing is the player likes it here, and that is obviously the case. If all sides are finding a solution and agreement later on, we will be happy.”

For now, the sporting director and agent are in agreement.

“He’s happy and has a very good relationship with the coach and players.” Barros said about his client’s time in Philadelphia “Obviously, the player doesn’t want to lose a lot of his salary. It’s not always about the money, though.”

Issue 3: MLS’s stature

The final concern is the esteem in which Monteiro holds MLS.

This should be corrected as the midfielder experiences the league’s quality, but he could still see a return to Europe as the ultimate goal. Despite MLS’s shift in talent, many Europeans continue to question the league’s growth. One factor: time zones.

Most MLS games occur while most in Europe are asleep. A 7 pm game on the U.S. east coast time zone game airs at 1 am in Europe (excluding the United Kingdom and Portugal.) It takes a certain level of dedication to track MLS which not many players can manage.

“I don’t think there is much from MLS on TV,” the German-born Tanner explained. “The problem in my eyes is the progress MLS did in the last couple of years was not that well communicated in Europe. Most of the players don’t necessarily associate good football with the United States. That’s something which needs to be corrected.”

Monteiro, like many overseas players, was initially reluctant to move to MLS. The Union’s interest in the Dutchman actually predated Tanner. That credit goes to Union’s former Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. Philadelphia had attempted to sign Monteiro before his move to FC Metz.

“Jamiro was already in the system because our scouting was formerly trying to get him, but obviously the player didn’t want to come,” Tanner said. “Then he was transferred to Metz. We followed him as he didn’t play, and there was another request from our side. It was quite a long process until we finally could do it.”

Barros confirmed that account.

“There were some reservations from Jamiro when I came with the MLS interest because he’s 25,” Barros said. “The assumption in Europe is that you go to MLS towards 30, but the league really convinced me that it’s a very decent league and a good league for players age 25 and younger to come into and grow. The intensity and pace of the league is special. You have some very good coaches, and the games are very tactical.”

Monteiro’s desire to play eventually outweighed the doubts. He decided during the winter transfer window a move away from FC Metz was best. An opportunity was something the Union could offer that others could not.

“It’s the prosperity which you can offer to the player which is very attractive,” Tanner explained. “He was desperate for playing time, and he knew there was interest before and that interest never went away. There was positive commitment from our side, and I think that was the most convincing part of the negotiation.”

Despite the perception of MLS, it does hold one key advantage. While most leagues’ winter transfer windows close at the end of January or early February, MLS’ remains open until May 1. It was crucial in Philadelphia getting their man.

“It is always a big advantage on our end that other windows are closing, and we are more or less the last ones left open,” said Tanner.

The Union were able to finally acquire their target in early March. They will have Monteiro throughout the MLS season. Now, they’ll see if they can keep him.


  1. “Monteiro, like many overseas players, was initially reluctant to move to MLS. The Union’s interest in the Dutchman actually predated Tanner. That credit goes to Union’s former Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. Philadelphia had attempted to sign Monteiro before his move to FC Metz.”


    A pretty big confirmation that maybe Stewart didn’t totally suck (not that I think that but there are people that do).

  2. Huge relief to retain Monteiro for the remainder of the season. Can’t see the U spending the transfer fee to keep him afterwards. For that money, would imagine Tanner can find one, if not two suitable replacements.

    • Gary = Jaytroll says:

      Under achieving Union sponsored post says the U needn’t purchase Montiero. No fan would say this: ‘for that sort of money you could get 1or 2 suitable replacements.’ Just no.

  3. Steven Whisler says:

    Great hustle on the reporting, Nick!

  4. I’m glad to have him this season but all the signs seem to be pointing to him only being here this year.

  5. If he’s only going to be a one year option, I’m not sure I support the decision to move Jones anymore. I was alright with that decision under the assumption that it locked down Monteiro. Now we could stand to lose both.

  6. The Truth says:

    No chance we can land him over the winter but I’m happy he’ll be here through the playoffs. Great reporting, Nick, thanks.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Teams get more allocation money if they qualify for Champions League, Fabian could be gone next year and free up another DP slot, and (insert other variable here), so … you never know.

  7. Great piece, Nick. And I agree with James above that you got a nice scoop on the fact that Earnie was the one who initially sniffed out Monteiro. I guess we may have to credit both Stewart and Tanner for this acquisition. Great reporting.

    But if we can’t get this deal done, it will be a huge loss to not have him next year.

  8. Maybe this is the time to take the risk and buy him after the season even if it costs 3.5 mil. I know sugardaddy isn’t big on spending but if Jamiro continues to play like this in a Union jersey next season and possibly after that, the Union could easily recoup that money in a transfer for Jamiro to go back to Europe.

    • pragmatist says:

      I was going to say the same thing. Newcastle paid $27M for Almiron, which shows that transfer fees for MLS players can be profitable.
      I’m not arguing that Monteiro would warrant the same number, but if we paid $3M for the transfer, and then sold him a 12-18 months later (after spending 2 seasons here) for $4M-$8M, that seems reasonable and within the realistic realm of possibilities.
      He wouldn’t be a long-term star here, but MLS wants to be a selling league. The league pushing that notion could even help the sale and profit.

  9. For anyone still commenting about the Jones trade, y’all did read the part about his off-field issues right?

    Tanner doesn’t put up with that crap, or attitudes. Before the season started, he came right out and said he really didn’t care for Sapong, Accam and Haris (it’s easier to just spell his first name.. ). Well, 2/3’rds are already gone.

    If he was here back in the day, we would’ve never had Adu, Jack Mac, or Hoppenot.. LOL…

  10. Chris Gibbons says:

    Perhaps the Union view this as a one year deal either way, with another player waiting in the wings/on the transfer market to take Monteiro’s place. Nogueria didn’t want to be anywhere but France, Dockal didn’t want to be anywhere but Prague, and maybe Monteiro doesn’t want to be anywhere but Europe. If they stop here for a year and contribute to solid soccer in the process, why is that a bad thing? Not everyone wants to live outside of Philadelphia and play in MLS permanently.

  11. OneManWolfpack says:

    I could see them trying to buy him if we really make some noise this season. If this team is playing for the East title and a chance at MLS Cup, I think you have to throw caution to the wind and try again next year, should you not win. With that said, I agree with Chris – that maybe the Union and Montiero are kind of using each other (in a good way) and they part ways after the season. Regardless, its nice to know he’ll be here for at least the next 5-6 months.

  12. SilverRey says:

    Great article!! Some of these Tanner opinions I hadn’t heard before.
    Fan homework: deciding how much Monteiro is worth paying for as we watch him over the season. I’ve been impressed so far but it’s a small sample size. I’d love to see him tear it up over the summer!

  13. Old Soccer Coach says:

    It will boil down to Fabián v Monteiro.

  14. No way we hold onto Monteiro, and no way we can afford him. I say loan as long as he’s still good. That’s a lotta coin for this cheapskate club.

  15. Informative. Thanks.

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