Josue Martinez has officially joined the Philadelphia Union on a transfer, according to a press release on the team's website. As per Union official policy, the club will not release the terms of either Martinez's contract or the transfer itself.
Martinez had been linked multiple times to the Union over the course of the last six months, particularly throughout late Novemember and into December. The 21-year-old striker was one of three Deportivo Saprissa players that were linked out of the Costa Rican powerhouse, and is the first one to have officially signed with a new team.
A report out of Norway put Martinez's transfer fee at between $400-500,000, making the forward a prime candidate to become the Union's first ever Young Designated Player under the new rules that MLS set earlier this year. If Martinez does qualify for the contractual distinction, he will count for only $200,000 against the salary cap in 2012. A portion of that cap hit may be from the transfer fee itself, similar to the FC Dallas Designated Player signing and purchase of Colombian forward. Fabian Castillo
The Union had been linked to multiple strikers this offseason, with Martinez, Kepa Blanco, Michael Thurk and Nicolas Anelka making up a group of various talents, skill levels and prices. Anelka was revealed to have possibly signed with a Chinese club today, while Blanco and Thurk were said to have been thinking about the Union multiple times without an actual move made.
Despite having a wealth of attacking talent already on the squad, the Union acquired Martinez to aid in fixing an offense that was inconsistent while finishing in the top half of MLS in 2011 in scoring. Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney will now have to fight with Martinez for playing time, while the franchise's all-time leading scorer, Sebastien Le Toux, will have yet another striker to attempt to find chemistry with up front.