Transfer Tracker

Report: Minnesota United pursue Brazilian forward for U22 Initiative spot 

Minnesota United FC have reportedly turned to Brazil’s Serie B in search of attacking help, with the club targeting 21-year-old forward Rafael Navarro from Botafogo.

Loons beat writer Andy Greder from The Pioneer Press was the first to report MNUFC's interest, noting Navarro would be signed as part of MLS’ U22 Initiative.

A source confirmed to that Minnesota are interested in Navarro, a former Brazil youth international.

Navarro has been lighting up Brazil's second flight this season with 12 goals and eight assists in 30 league appearances. He came up through the Fluminense youth system, then moved to AC Goianiense's U-20 squad before ending up with Botofogo’s U-20 side. Navarro made his professional debut last season when Fogão were in Serie A before being relegated at the season’s conclusion.

The Loons have long been in search of a consistent center forward. They signed Adrien Hunou to a Designated Player contract for that role, but he’s been limited to six goals and one assist in 23 appearances (19 starts) during his first MLS season upon arriving from Ligue 1's Rennes.

Two of Minnesota's key attackers are also from South America, with midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and winger Franco Fragapane both hailing from Argentina. Reynoso arrived midseason last year from Boca Juniors, while Fragapane was acquired from Talleres in May.