NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In soccer, it’s not easy to find the ideal transfer deal at the perfect time.
According to Nashville SC GM Mike Jacobs, that might be exactly what he found with the loan acquisition of Venezuelan striker Jhonder Cádiz.
Nashville SC announced the acquisition of its third Designated Player on Wednesday, and according to Jacobs, he couldn’t be happier to add the 6’3’’, 185 lb. forward to the roster.
“If you ask [Head Coach] Gary [Smith] if he wanted someone who is physically tall and good in the air or fast, he’d probably respond ‘yes,’” Jacobs said. “He’d want all those things. [Jhonder] is strong and physically good in the air, but also has this breakneck pace that makes him dangerous and able to get in behind. It really is the best of both worlds with what you’re looking for out of a target player. It’s very rare to find players like that who are attainable, even more so players in their prime.”
Cádiz spent his last season playing on loan with Dijon FCO in the French Ligue 1, one of the top leagues in Europe. He has been on the pitch, and scored, against elite clubs such as 2020 UEFA Champions League Finalist Paris Saint-Germain. Prior to that, he played in Portugal’s top flight and some of the top competitions in South America, including the Copa Libertadores.
With a team that is looking for an immediate boost in goal scoring and a goal scorer available from a major European power in S.L. Benfica, the timing was perfect for Jacobs to pull off the deal.
“The 2020 season has changed an awful lot,” Jacobs said. “We’ve been through as much as any team in the league. Conventional thinking, maybe you punt to the Winter window in 2021. When the opportunity to go after a player that clearly became our top choice became available, we could only have gotten Jhonder if we did this deal now. If we had waited until December or January, a player of Jhonder’s abilities wouldn’t have been available. He was in such high demand. They weren’t going to wait around for us.”
Now, Jacobs and Head Coach Gary Smith await Cádiz’s arrival in the United States. While they both acknowledge there will be some adjustment to a new league, team, city, climate, and travel schedule, Smith is excited to welcome Cádiz into the group and give a boost to a team looking to hit its stride in the back end of an unprecedented inaugural season in Major League Soccer.
“As you find in most positions on the field, when you’ve got good competition then you get the best out of players,” Smith said. “It’s no different in the frontline. It’s easy for everyone to see we’ve fallen short in front of goal. We’ve created chances, but we’ve found life difficult to convert. Bringing in a player of Jhonder’s ability certainly adds to hopefully the expectation of scoring goals. We’ve now added an individual I firmly believe will be very effective in this league. As soon as Jhonder’s here and he’s able to get work in and get moving again, we’ll find ourselves with somebody that will lift not only the expectations of the frontline, but there’ll be a nice shot in the arm for everyone in the group.”