Artur may not be the only Brazilian to be part of Columbus Crew SC’s roster in the 2019 Major League Soccer season as the Black & Gold have reportedly reached an agreement to sign 23-year-old winger Robinho from the country’s top tier side Ceará Sporting Club.
According to the website of Brazilian newspaper Diário do Nordeste, the Crew has reached an agreement to acquire Robinho, whose name is Francisco Wellington Barbosa de Lisboa, for a transfer fee around $250,000. The deal has reportedly been agreed since September according to Brazilian website O Povo.
Robinho was developed in Ceará’s Academy and joined their senior roster in 2014. The winger, who can play on both sides of the field, has been loaned out as many as four times since then and never really had a chance to play for his parent club.
His last temporary transfer happened in 2018, when he spent most of the season with third division club Santa Cruz, which he left as the team’s top goal scorer after he found the back of the net eight times in 40 matches. Robinho returned to Ceará in August, but played just 35 minutes in two matches at the Brazilian Serie A.
His highlights video shows a player with interesting speed and a good dribbling ability, but limited finishing skills. If Robinho is indeed coming to Columbus, he would probably be a bench option to the wings, behind the presumable starters Pedro Santos and Justin Meram. He would compete for playing time with Niko Hansen and Luis Argudo.
This is an interesting move for Crew SC for a number of reasons. First, the team currently is without a coach and general manager. With the reports indicating that this deal was done in September, this — assuming validity — is likely a move that was made under former head coach Gregg Berhalter, who left the club to become the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team this offseason. Goalkeeper coach Pat Onstad is current serving as interim general manager after Berhalter also vacated his sporting director role.
Would the full time general manager be interesting in signing Robinho? Would he fit with the next head coach’s — who will be Caleb Porter a number of sources have indicated — philosophy? Obviously the Black & Gold have to continue to make moves and build for 2019, but without a coach and general manager in place, both moves seem to be waiting on the new ownership group to take control of the team, it’s hard to make moves that fit the team going forward.
Stay glued to Massive Report for more details on this and other potential transfers this offseason as word comes out about them.