TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Transfer
The Philadelphia Union have acquired defensive midfielder Jose Andres Martinez from Zulia FC for an undisclosed transfer fee, the club announced Monday. According to Jonathan Tannenwald of The Inquirer, the Union paid a $325,000 transfer fee. Martinez is the club's first signing of the offseason.
Martinez, 25, had two goals and four assists across 65 appearances for Zulia over the last two seasons, guiding the club to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Copa Sudamericana, the furthest a Venezuelan team has progressed in the history of the competition.
“We’re excited to welcome ‘El Brujo’ to the Philadelphia Union. He is an up-and-coming player whose tenacity and athleticism will bolster our midfield going forward,” sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a club statement. “We look forward to welcoming him to the team and an exciting 2020 season.”
Nicknamed 'El Brujo', which translates to 'the wizard', Martinez received a call up to the Venezuelan national team earlier this year but didn't make his debut. He comes from the same club as Real Salt Lake's Jefferson Savarino and D.C. United's Junior Moreno.
After allowing Haris Medunjanin to depart this offseason, Philly were in need of a new defensive midfielder. Tanner spoke previously of searching for a more mobile player to accentuate the club's high-energy, high-pressing system.
It's been an interesting offseason for the Union, who traded Auston Trusty to the Colorado Rapids, Fafa Picault to FC Dallas and allowed the likes of Medunjanin and Marco Fabian to leave. They earned a club-record 55 points in 2019 and won an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs match for the first time, defeating the New York Red Bulls.