As the MLS secondary transfer window closed on August 3, the San Jose Earthquakes completed a deal with the Orlando City SC that brought El Salvadorean captain Darwin Ceren to the Quakes in exchange for seldom used playmaker Matias Perez Garcia.
The deal also provided San Jose with some salary relief that can be used to sign any out-of-contract player for the remainder of the 2016 season. Following the Ceren acquisition, it was stated by head coach Dominic Kinnear that the Quakes would try to sign a forward with those funds.
A report out of Sweden on Sunday suggests that the Earthquakes target might be 31-year-old Henok Goitom. The Swedish born striker, who recently made his international debut for Eritrea, has been training with his former club AIK in hopes of securing a new contract. However, it appears the Quakes are making a play for the forward, and that a contract offer has been made.
According to the report, AIK is already looking in another direction, and it is a six-month deal with a one-year extension from San Jose that is Goitom's best offer on the table. The 6'2" striker scored 39 goals in four seasons with AIK before venturing overseas following his 2015 MVP-caliber season. He played six months with Getafe of La Liga, but he did not see the field too often and ended his time in Spain this summer.
Another report out Monday quotes Goitom himself as saying he is ready for "the adventure in San Jose." The striker goes on to state the contract is perhaps a little bit lower than his previous deal with AIK, but that the opportunity to play in MLS and broaden the scope of soccer he is able to play will one day help him in his post-playing career of choice: coaching.
Key to the Earthquakes chances of signing Goitom is that the forward is out of contract following his time with Getafe, and he has yet to put pen to paper with his hometown team AIK. If he were to sign with MLS, it would come on a free and work perfectly within the salary relief that San Jose picked up from Orlando City last week.
San Jose is in desperate need of help on offense this season, especially with the non-factor Innocent Emeghara contributing so little as the team's highest paid player. Star forward Chris Wondolowski leads the Quakes with nine goals in 2016 -- he needs only one more to bring his consecutive seasons in double-digit goals to seven -- but the team as a whole has only scored 23 times in 22 games -- worst in the Western Conference. On Friday night, the punchless Quakes were held to a scoreless draw by New York City FC at Avaya Stadium, their tenth tie of the season -- best in the West in that category.
A deal for Goitom could be completed quickly, and because the forward has been training over the last few weeks, he could be ready to play for San Jose on short order. Adding something to the attack is a big priority for the Earthquakes right now, and with only 12 games remaining in their season, time is running out to make something happen.