Bruce Arena’s first big move as Sporting Director of the Revolution has finally been announced, with the signing of Argentine forward Gustavo Bou from Club Tijuana of Liga MX. The move, which had been rumoured for weeks finally came to fruition Wednesday afternoon, a day after the Summer Transfer Window had opened up again. Many believed the delay in announcing the record-breaking signing was in part to Bou’s former club, Tijuana, looking for and acquiring a suitable replacement. Bou will officially become a DP following the approval of his P-1 ITC visa.
The 29 year-old forward was brought up through Argentine giants River Plate, before heading to Racing Club, where he spent his career before bouncing between Tijuana and Racing including a near 10 million dollar move to Tijuana before his move to New England, with the reported fee hovering between $6 and $7 million. Bou’s transfer, which was initially valued at the $10,000,000 price tag Racing had set for him, is incredible for the Revolution, and a testament to the negotiating abilities of newly appointed Sporting Director Bruce Arena. The willingness to spend is also an incredibly welcome sign, as Robert Kraft seemed unwilling to open up his pockets for any players with the exception of signing Carles Gil this Winter.
Bou, who has been in the top flight of South American leagues for the entirety of his career is the kind of upper-echelon talent that fans have been clamoring for the front office to sign. “La Pantera” as he’s called, put up dangerous numbers, grabbing 10 goals and 5 assists in only six matches during this Liga MX season, and finding the twine once in Tijuana’s Copa MX run which saw them reach the semi-finals. Over his career, Gustavo has scored 44 goals in 102 matches, and 19 assists to go alongside his already star-spangled stats. Some of his highlights can be found below:
With Bou’s arrival, the team will most likely look to shift towards a 4-2-3-1 formation, with him at the tip of the diamond. The new number 7’s eye for the goal comes at an amazing time, with both J.F. Caicedo and Teal Bunbury hitting their stride just alongside, the Revolution suddenly have one of the more dangerous attacking fronts in the league and look to be playoff-bound. Bou’s contract most likely will be double that of Carles Gil’s 2.2 million dollar deal he’s on for the following season, as well as 18/19, with the new signee having signed onto the club for the next 4 years. The deal as a whole will most likely exceed $16 million once bonuses, options, and Bou’s salary factored into the deal, making him far and away the most expensive player in New England Revolution history.
Off the pitch, La Pantera’s personality has been noted as charismatic and outgoing, so you might as well just add “great locker room guy” to the already running list of benefits that this transfer has brought to Foxboro. The craziest thing about bringing in someone of this stature and for such a large amount is that this would be absolutely unheard of in the Mike Burns era, and Bruce Arena won’t be stopping here. Former FC Barcelona and Belgian International centerback Thomas Vermaelen, attacking midfielder Bojan Krkic, and U.S. Men’s National Team player and Borussia Monchengladbach stalwart Fabian Johnson have all been rumoured to be on the boss’s watchlist, and coincide with the announced plan to bring on 1-2 every day starting players in this window.
While Bou won’t be ready to take on D.C. United in this Friday’s visit to Audi Field, there’s a chance he may be slotted in the lineup for their midweek matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps at home next Wednesday. Regardless of when he plays, fans across New England are excited more than they’ve ever been before to see a star like Bou take the pitch at Gillette Stadium wearing the blue and white, and I certainly know I am just as amped.
(Photo: New England Revolution)