‘Strategic and calculated’ process lands Tomás Martínez with Dynamo

July 27, 2017 GMT

Tomás Martínez was in Portugal when his transfer to the Dynamo was finalized. That made sense because he was playing with S.C. Braga at the time.

Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan had traveled to Portugal and Argentina throughout the recruitment process, but he was in neither of those places or in Houston when the whole thing finally was official.

Jordan was in New York, celebrating his grandmother’s 100th birthday.

A general manager’s life is hectic throughout all transfer windows. This one is no different for Jordan as he tries to position the Dynamo to make a run for the top of the Western Conference.

“When the transfer window is open it is 24/7,” Jordan said. “I was stepping out several moments trying to get certain documents in order, get the final details organized. That was a little bit of a balancing act, but it’s important to do whatever it takes to get the deal done.”

The deal was done after a four- to five-month process, though the Dynamo first saw Martínez play for Argentina at the 2015 South American Youth Football Championship. First-year coach Wilmer Cabrera saw Martínez play at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Jordan said the process to sign Martínez was “strategic and calculated.” It required moves dating back all the way to last summer. Moves this year that made it possible were waiving Spanish defender Agus, who occupied an international roster spot and trading the No. 1 spot in the MLS allocation order to D.C. United to acquire another international roster spot.

There was added difficulty because of Martínez’s profile as a true central attacking midfielder and experience in Europe and with Argentina’s youth national team. Jordan said the Dynamo had to beat out clubs from Europe, Mexico and Argentina to sign him.

Long time coming

Every deal has its own story. This one was no different.

“It just took a long time,” Jordan said. “When you’re dealing with a world market, that’s a challenge because different teams are competing for the player. It’s not like we’re bringing in a 34-year old player. You’re bringing in a 22-year old player who wore the No. 10 jersey for the Argentinian national team. That means something no matter where you are.”

It meant something to Martínez that the Dynamo emphasized their desire to sign him. He said he considered advice from his agent, his family and his wife before picking Houston. All of that played a role, but the fact Cabrera convinced Martínez he has his trust put the decision over the top.

The United States may be a new environment for Martínez, but he said he is encouraged by the success other Argentines have had in MLS. He said he spoke with South American players Miguel Almirón, Héctor Villalba and Leandro González Pírez, who all play for Atlanta United FC, about their opinions of MLS.

“They are very happy and don’t want to leave this league,” Martínez said.

In Portugal, Martínez could not use his creative skills because the game was so tactical. He said he sees the Dynamo as a fresh start and MLS as a league where he can express himself on the pitch like he has been doing for most of his career.

If Jordan has his way, Martínez will be a long-term star and blow out the candles on many birthday cakes in Houston.

“It’s an important moment in my career,” Martínez said. “I want to grow here. It’s crucial and wonderful to be able to play for the Dynamo. I’m thankful for this moment in my career. I believe I’m here at the right moment for me to give Houston my all. This is an important step in my career.”