Jamiro Monteiro screams - Philadelphia Union

Though it didn't take long for the Philadelphia Union to realize Jamiro Monteiro was a player they intended on keeping, it was far from an easy process to make their intention a reality.

Monteiro originally joined the club on loan from French side FC Metz at the beginning of March last season. By summer, Philly had engaged the club over a potential permanent sale, one "significantly" lower than the purchase option as part of the loan agreement. They also needed to get an agreement from the player and his representatives.

The negotiations took months, twisting and turning, before finally getting an agreement over the line last week for a club-record transfer of $2 million, making Monteiro a Designated Player. 

"We started that process in the summer, you can imagine it was not an easy deal as it is always when there are a couple of parties," sporting director Ernst Tanner told media on a conference call Wednesday. "Finally, we are very happy to get it done."

Monteiro, 26, made 22 MLS starts while adding four goals and nine assists from the midfield last season. His output on the scoresheet aside, the Dutch-born Cape Verde international is  a ground-covering box-to-box midfielder who typifies the Union's new high-pressing system.

"It was absolutely convincing how Jamiro played over the course of the season that showed to everybody that he was a player we needed to spend that extra money, we're usually not doing that," Tanner said. "The agency of Jamiro was convinced that this is the right step for him to stay permanently in the US as the league is really growing. There were lots of things playing together." 

Monteiro is now signed, but Philadelphia are far from done this offseason. If the United States qualify for Olympic men's soccer — which Tanner expects will happen — the Union could be without a few players this summer, including Mark McKenzie and Brenden Aaronson. Plus, with the Union playing through a few international windows during the season, the club are focused on adding to their depth to cope with when regulars are unavailable.

"In this moment, we're surely signing a couple more players," Tanner said, indicating the club will add another player in defensive midfield. "We're close to other positions as well, looking for a center back to get more stable in defense. I don't want to have a second season where we allow more than 50 goals again. If we can avoid that, we can be even more successful. You might not forget that we lost Auston Trusty and didn't replace him yet."

While the club already added to the defensive midfield position by signing Venezuelan Jose Andres Martinez, the club don't want to heap expectations on the 25-year-old, who has yet to play outside his native country. 

"Spanish-speaking players need more time to adapt, learn the language," Tanner said. "The play-style and culture is different, that's what we've learned in the past. I see Martinez more as a long- or mid-term project, he's a good player without any question, but at the same time we're doing something totally different here. It's quite demanding." 

Tanner also confirmed that Cory Burke is headed to Austrian club St. Polten on loan. He still needs to apply for a new green card, which he can't do until the end of April. Burke is expected to depart Austria in the beginning of May, hopefully to return to Philadelphia.

“I think I found a pretty good solution for him," Tanner said. “Everything is not written, but we have an agreement and Cory already has an agreement with the club. I think they have a good situation for him, as he will join a club where the coach is a friend of mine and he knows everything about the player. The goal is to give him match practice on the higher level than he has had so far and bring him back in the beginning of May if possible.”