MLS- Columbus Crew

Crew's Gonzalez finalizing transfer move to Serie A side Palermo

GianCarloGonzalez (USATodaySports)

Photo by USA Today Sports Images

Giancarlo Gonzalez enjoyed a standout World Cup for Costa Rica, and generated plenty of transfer interest, and that interest has produced a dream move for the Columbus Crew standout.

Costa Rican outlet Al Dia is reporting that Gonzalez has been sold to Serie A side Palermo, and has signed a four-year contract. There were no details on a transfer figure for Gonzalez, but Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter addressed Gonzalez’s status before Saturday night’s match against the Houston Dynamo.

“Giancarlo is en route to Italy to finalize negotiations with Palermo,” Berhalter said. “This was one of the first clubs that came in for him, and this was directly after the World Cup. So when you talk about the amount of time it takes to get a deal done, here we are how many weeks later, and it’s finally come to fruition.

According to a report by the Columbus Dispatch, the transfer fee is the largest for a defender in MLS history. Berhalter didn’t disclose the amount but did state that the notion that it was the largest sale for a defender was “pretty accurate.”

“This is something that you don’t pass up, bar none,” Berhalter said. “When this type of offer comes around, you take it. For us, it’s a game-changer.”

In terms of it being a game-changer, Berhalter outlined that the amount of money and resources earned in the deal would benefit the club in numerous ways, including the club’s youth academy and the team’s scouting department.

The youth academy has already produced the likes of starter Wil Trapp and contributers Ben Speas, and Chad Barson, while the scouting department was able to find a player of Gonzalez’s caliber for what Berhalter described as a “small fee.”

In addition, Berhalter believes that having a soccer environment where players can improve themselves and their value is something that will make the Crew more attractive to potential transfers or free agents.

“What this (transfer) does is it accelerates it now because we have these funds that we can use on a faster level.,” Berhalter explained about the team’s long term plans. “I think its very positive.”

Gonzalez joined the Crew before the 2014 season, arriving from Norwegian club Valerenga. He settled in quickly as one of the better central defenders in MLS, and showed outstanding form at the World Cup during Costa Rica’s surprising run to the quarterfinals.

Gonzalez’s departure will be a big blow to the Crew’s push for a playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference, but the transfer offer from Palermo must have been sizable in order for the Crew to let Gonzalez leave in his first season with the club.

Berhalter indicated that reserve defender Tyson Wahl would be capable of filling in along the back line, and that once Hector Jimenez returned to full fitness, Eric Gehrig could shift back to central defense.


What do you think of this development? How big of a loss is Gonzalez to the Crew?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Fat Albert

    Crew takes the money to the bank. Bought him for $500k from valarenga this year. (Not 2013, not from saprissa).
    Fast profit. Easy money. Crew needs to spend some on new players now. Congrats to Gonzalez, he’s a quality player.


      • BestTrollerGuy

        Probably in the neighborhood of $1.5 million, not a lot of money but Giancarlo Gonzalez probably wanted to leave to make more money in Europe.


      • James

        In MLS terms, $1.5 million is a pretty hefty sum. You can do a lot with that when you’re average salary is only $100K


  • argh

    $5 million? Finally MLS is a real league

    but will anyone ever break the 10 million dollars Altidore left for La Liga


  • argh

    have to wonder, did Palermo really send a scout to MLS?

    i’m surprised a PL club didn’t pick him up. Does Palermo have the money to drop 5 million dollars on a player whose only played 5 WC games and mostly MLS/Norwegian club games


    • CSD

      There owner is known for bouts of impulse. He fires managers all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t decide to buy Gonzalez after watching him in one match against Italy in the World Cup. Being Sicilian I have followed Palermo for a while and they are an interesting club.


  • Limey

    I’m scared to say it was a transfer least I’m schooled on the not a transfer we don’t do trades thing, anyway well done Crew, well done Giancarlo great transfer for all!


    • Ali Dia

      Hehehehe I get it, Limey… It is possible I belabored that point a bit on Yedlin but my compliments to you— you chased the thread though to its completion so full respect– this is more than the standard and shows you are willing to engage somebody under their framework. Only thing I care about is finding better answers, not trying to belittle people who take the time to engage other people’s questions. I’m not wild about rude people or people who splash geek all over everyone so I apologize. Furthermore, you will also observe that I am wrong quite a lot so you can have some future satisfaction from that, as well.

      Anyway re Gonz thankfully yes it seems we’re moving away from the exotic aisle for this transfer, which is good (I was a little concerned by the $1.5 million number somebody suggested above initially, but $5mm seems about right and would then foot to Maurice Edu (presumably) for the bit about “highest transfer fee for a defender” I did not see age listed in the piece (a rare mistake from the master of the house on transfers if so) but he is 26 clearly really is looking like a fully-baked product entering his prime over the recent 12+ months. Good for the player, good for the league/team, good for the buyer (we think)

      So it all makes some sense. Which means somebody should be along shortly to tell us that it is the worst bs in the world.


  • Hejduk4President

    He was solid in the World Cup but for whatever reasons very shaky for us. Good return on investment at the very least. Hopefully the Crew invests the money in the team.


  • Paul

    The good thing about this is that MLS is being viewed as a viable league to find talent for elite leagues which should attract better talent from the Americas (and maybe Europe).


  • AMPh

    He was great at the WC. Congrats to the man on the upward move.

    Does anyone know if he has a good chance of getting minutes at Palermo?


    • Ali Dia

      No reason he shouldn’t. Palermo are not a side that typically spends more than a couple million Euros on any individual player. They don’t have super finances and their squad is a lot of “dogs and cats”, particularly in defense. Even with a relatively uspectacular transfer fee of $5 mm (we assume for now), Gonz is one of the more expensive players in the side and likely the highest “valued” of their current defenders (trasnfermarkt confirms, though this is not the world of God or anything… they had him at 800k euros a few days ago). Ahead of him

      So as a 26 year old coming off and excellent World Cup, there is every reason for him to think that he should have a look at a first-choice spot in defense… it guarantees him nothing, but they ddn’t buy him as an investment to develop and sell in 4 years… I’m sure they’d like to see him step in and contribute as soon as he has settled himself in Italy.The number is simply too high for Palermo to have purchased him as cover.

      Perhaps there is a Palermo fan(or at least a Serie A junkie) who can give some detail on the incumbents he will be competing against.


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