The Philadelphia Union have completed the signing of 25-year-old Israeli striker Tai Baribo, adding a much needed forward to their front line just ahead of the knockout rounds of the Leagues Cup.
Whether the Austrian Bundesliga Golden Boot contender from last season will get to play in the Leagues Cup remains to be seen, however. His addition to the active roster is pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa.
Baribo’s contract runs through the 2025 season and includes a club option for 2026.
“In just two years playing in the Austrian Bundesliga, Tai has proven himself to be an incredibly dangerous and productive striker,” Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner stated in a news releaes. “We are continuously looking to add to the quality of our roster, and having one of the top scorers in the Austrian league join us will help build on the success of this team. We look forward to seeing what he’ll contribute the rest of this season and going forward.”
Head coach Jim Curtin said Wednesday that Baribo was in the locker room today meeting his new teammates.
“He’s a player that we’ve been monitoring for some time,” Curtin said. “We were fortunate enough to sign him; a lot of European interest came in for Tai and we were able to beat out some really big clubs.”
Though a transfer fee was not disclosed, the Union reportedly spent around $1.5 million on a transfer fee to land Baribo, which would put him at the second highest transfer fee in team history behind Mikael Uhre’s $1.5 million.
“I welcome him with open arms,” Uhre said on a call with media Wednesday. “It’s always good to have some competition.”
The addition of Baribo gives the Union a third striker who can compete for starting minutes and provide something they haven’t had since losing Cory Burke in the off-season, a seasoned goal-scoring threat off the bench. With Julian Carranza heading into an option year and suitors likely to come, Baribo could also be in line to take on a starting role in 2024.
Baribo will wear the No. 28 shirt which was last worn by veteran defender Ray Gaddis. He recorded a team high 16 goals and three assists this past season for Wolfsberger AC, adding on to his 11 goals and two assists from the previous year, for 27 goals in 61 games played. Earlier this season, Baribo racked up a total of five goals in four consecutive matches. In the semi-finals of the Bundesliga Europacup Playoffs, Baribo scored the loan goal for his club in 2-1 loss to SC Austria Lustenau.
Internationally, Baribo has featured for the Israeli National team, earning 11 caps. In those 11 appearances, Baribo has scored three goals, two in friendlies and one in a 2-1 victory over Albania in a UEFA Nations League match, scoring just four minutes into the match.