The Union made a significant addition to their central midfield depth on Tuesday by signing Jamiro Monteiro from French second-division club Metz.
Monteiro is a targeted allocation money signing, which means the Union are spending above the designated player threshold of $530,000 on him but are paying down his salary-cap hit. An outlay like that means he’s going to play. He comes on a four-month loan that runs through June. The Union have options to extend the loan through the end of the MLS season, and to buy him after that if they want to.
A 25-year-old Netherlands native, Monteiro represents Cape Verde’s national team, as his parents were born there. He came up through Dutch clubs including second-tier Cambuur and first-tier Heracles Almelo.
Monteiro played 37 games for Heracles in the 2017-18 season, registering five goals, three assists and four yellow cards. According to WhoScored’s stats database, Monteiro averaged 1.8 shots, 1.6 chances created, 2.1 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 1.6 fouls committed per game, and 43.4 passes per game at 87.7 pecent accuracy.
Metz stumped up a hefty $3.5 million transfer fee to acquire Monteiro last July, even though it had just been relegated out of France’s top flight. But he has played just six games there, and hasn’t gotten on the field since last October.
“We have had our eye on Jamiro for some time and we are pleased to complete this deal to bring him to Philadelphia,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. “He is a relentless box-to-box midfielder who we believe fits well into our tactical parameters for a central midfielder. We look forward to integrating him into the squad as quickly as possible with the young season just underway."
By Tanner’s judgment and the scouting footage available, Monteiro projects to fit into one of the central spots in the Union’s four-man midfield diamond, likely next to Alejandro Bedoya. He could also play the holding role if the Union want Ilsinho or Brenden Aaronson on the field, too.
It may be coincidence that the deal wasn’t finished until after Saturday’s loss to Toronto, but Monteiro’s arrival further highlights the Union’s lack of tenacity in midfield in the game.
We will see when Monteiro gets on the field, and whom he replaces. The Union’s next two games are on the road against MLS title favorites: Sporting Kansas City on Sunday (3 p.m., PHL17) and reigning champion Atlanta United on March 17.
In a video interview on the Union’s website, Monteiro said this is his first time in the United States, but he of course knows plenty about the country’s culture. He said he’s a fan of Meek Mill, and would like to meet him some day.