As first reported by The Mane Land and Massive Report last night, Orlando City has now officially acquired Brazilian winger Robinho from the Columbus Crew in exchange for $50,000 in 2019 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Sources have told The Mane Land that the price could increase by another $70,000 in 2020 TAM if certain performance milestones are met. As a condition of the agreement, Robinho will not be available for selection on Saturday when the Lions host the Crew.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Robinho to Orlando City. He is a player that is extremely energetic on the pitch and has the ability to create opportunities for players around him,” Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said. “As we make our push for the playoffs this summer we feel as though Robinho is a great addition to our roster.”
The 24-year-old native of Senador Pompeu, Brazil, is in his first MLS season after being signed by the Crew prior to the 2019 season on Jan. 18 from Brazilian Serie A side Ceará Sporting Club.
According to reports in the Brazilian media, the Black & Gold have paid around $250,000 to acquire Robinho from Ceará.
“We want to welcome Robinho to Columbus Crew SC as he is a young and dynamic wide attacking midfielder with tireless energy,” team president Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “At 23, Robinho brings experience from more than 100 matches across all competitions in Brazil and we look forward to watching him continue to develop as we believe he adds depth at our wide attacking midfielder position.”
Robinho, who was originally scouted by Orlando City Director of Scouting Ricardo Moreira while he was with Columbus, has appeared in 19 games (13 starts) totaling 1,115 minutes with the Crew in 2019. He has yet to score his first MLS goal — Brian Rowe robbed him of a spectacular bicycle kick attempt a couple of weeks ago — but he does have two assists, which tied him for second on the team. He has taken 33 shots with 11 of them on target and has completed about 81% of his passes and is averaging about two tackles per game.
Prior to joining the Crew, Robinho scored four goals in 18 games on loan to Santa Cruz in Brazil’s Serie C. He scored a total of 14 goals in 119 appearances in all competitions as a professional in Brazil from 2014 to 2018.
What This Means for Orlando City
The Lions needed additional attacking depth and Robinho provides some speed and creativity out on the edge. While he hasn’t put up big numbers, he seems to be a creative player who can help unlock defenses with his movement and pace. At just 24 years old he still has some unrealized potential. At a salary cost of $198,000 per the June MLSPA salary release, he’s not a terribly expensive addition — a must for cap-strapped Orlando. A $50,000 TAM investment isn’t a terribly high price to pay for attacking help, and if Robinho performs well he’ll be worth the additional money included in the deal with the Crew.
It’s unlikely Robinho alone will be the offensive answer the Lions need, but he’s an interesting addition. Brought in to play under Gregg Berhalter, he may not have adapted well to Caleb Porter. Perhaps James O’Connor can get more out of the young Brazilian. He fits the profile of other players brought in by Luiz Muzzi in recent months (think: Sebas Mendez and Ruan). At the very least he adds some quality depth to the Orlando attacking line in O’Connor’s 4-3-3 during an incredibly busy fixture schedule. He does require an international slot, however.