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Philadelphia Union sign 24-year-old Brazilian forward Sergio Santos

Sporting Director Ernst Tanner delivers first major signing

The Philadelphia Union have a new striker for next season, and it’s still only December.

The signing of Brazilian forward Sergio Santos, who was on the radar of Liga MX club Necaxa, was announced on Friday morning.

Sporting Director Ernst Tanner confirmed in a conference call with media that a $500,000 buyout clause was paid to acquire the 24-year-old from Chilean Primera Division club Audax Italiano. In addition, the Union are using an undisclosed amount of targeted allocation money to bring his salary below the designated player threshold.

“Sergio is a young forward with potential and we are pleased to complete his signing,” Sporting Director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. “When we met with him in Chile, it became apparent that he is a good fit for our club both as a player and as a person. He took an unconventional route going to Chile on his own at age 19, but we have observed rapid improvement and development at Audax, and believe he is ready for this next step. We next look forward to integrating him as quickly as possible with the team at the start of preseason.”

Santos has spent his entire professional career with Audax. He made his first team debut in April 2015 and has 19 goals in 56 appearances across all competitions.

During a conference call with reporters, Tanner called Santos a perfect fit for the team, noting that he’s left-footed, good at hold-up play and can play multiple attacking positions.

He’s the second player the team has signed since Tanner took over as sporting director and the first for the 2019 season. The first was Kacper Pryzbylko, who didn’t make an appearance for the team after signing in September and has an option for 2019 the team has not exercised.

“I hope I can score a lot of goals, win some championships and bring a lot of happiness to the club,” Santos said through a translator on a conference call with media.