FC Cincinnati is moving into its new stadium this season, and it's splashing the cash to make sure it has a star attraction.
FCC, which finished at the bottom of MLS's Eastern Conference in each of its two seasons in the league, signed 21-year-old Brazilian striker Brenner from São Paulo FC for a transfer fee that's among the highest in league history at a reported $13 million. He joins the club as a Young Designated Player and will be looked upon to help remedy an attack that mustered a league-low 12 goals in 23 regular-season games in an interrupted and abbreviated 2020 season.
“Brenner is an important addition to our team as we build for the upcoming year, but also into future seasons,” FC Cincinnati GM Gerard Nijkamp said in a statement. “Despite his young age, he has already shown his quality on the highest level in Brazil with São Paulo and has the potential to become a top young talent in Major League Soccer. This move is a testament to the commitment of our ownership group to invest in young talents and bring winning soccer to Cincinnati.”
Brenner appeared at the 2017 U-17 World Cup for Brazil and made 18 appearances for the country's U-17 team in all. He scored 24 goals and added four assists in 61 career appearances in his native land, which included a loan to Fluminense.
Brenner may not be the only big signing for FCC this winter, with the club reportedly linked to former River Plate and Atlanta United star Pity Martinez, who departed MLS just last September to Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia. Nijkamp did not address Martinez directly in comments with reporters on Tuesday, but he did say the club is attempting to maneuver higher up the MLS allocation order, which is a mechanism used for a player of Martinez's ilk–someone who left the league for a transfer fee of over $500,000. He pinpointed a playmaker, winger and center back as the club's most pressing needs areas.
Regardless of who signs, they'll join knowing the 2021 season will go ahead as planned after the league and the MLS players association ratified their CBA amendments on Monday, which extended their labor agreement through the 2027 season.