Colorado Rapids sign Brazilian center forward Rafael Navarro from Palmeiras, contract source says The Athletic.
The deal is a 12-month loan with an option to buy. Rapids will pay $500,000 in loan fees and have an option to buy for $4.5 million. With a potential total of $5 million, the package would well exceed the Rapids’ new club record.
The 23-year-old Navarro has made 65 appearances for Palmeiras, scoring 11 goals and providing four assists, mostly off the bench. In 2022, he made 10 Copa Libertadores appearances (403 minutes) with 7 goals and 2 assists.
The center forward’s best season was in 2021 with Botafogo in the Brazilian second division, where he played 37 games and recorded 15 goals and 9 assists. Navarro led Botafogo to the Serie B title before signing Palmeiras, who won the Serie A title.
The Rapids, who just won their first home game of the season on Saturday, are bottom of the Western Conference with 17 points from 21 games. They scored an MLS-low 16 goals. Navarro will be the new offensive talisman, surrounded by Diego Rubio, Kevin Cabral, Michael Barrios and Jonathan Ruiz.
Colorado desperately needs a go-to goalscorer. No player has scored more than two goals this season, and only twice in the past 12 years has a Rapids top scorer scored more than 13 goals in the league in any season.
When the transfer window opened last summer, the Rapids signed left-back Andrew Gutmann in a trade with Atlanta United and are expected to continue to move.
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