On Wednesday, Argentine striker Gustavo Bou was introduced as New England Revolution’s new designated player signing, giving former U.S. men’s coach Bruce Arena a new talent in the attack as he pushes his team into the playoff hunt. The talented striker had been playing in Mexico and once tore it up in Argentina with Racing, and he has a real chance to make a big impact in MLS. Let’s break down what you need to know about him, the deal and the fit with the Revs.
Bou joined the Revs on a permanent transfer from Tijuana for roughly $7 million, sources told CBS Sports. The Boston Globe reported that the deal totals $12 million in transfer fees and guaranteed salary.
At one point, Bou was one of the top strikers in the Argentine first division. The 29-year-old from Entre Rios had a slow start to his career at Racing, scoring just three goals in 32 games from 2008-2012. He then had stints at Olimpo, Liga de Quito and Gimnasia, none of which went overly well. At Racing in 2014, he scored 10 goals in 16 games and then had 19 in 42 games the following season.
He since has had two seasons for Tijuana in which he has tallied double-digit in goals.
What he does well: He’s a really good finisher who does a nice job of cleaning up chances inside the box, but he can also make enough moves to create space and get a good shot. He has some skillful tricks in his bag that he uses to get free — a dummy or a step-over to name a few. He also can finish with his head, but he’s known more for finishing from close. Rarely does he score from outside the box, and he is also a really quality penalty kick taker.
What he doesn’t do well: He’s not overly dominant in the air, and he doesn’t have a whole lot of pace. There are times in which he tries to force things with the ball at his feet.
Player’s ceiling and floor
At best, at this point of the season, he’s a guy who gets double-digit goals for New England and gets them into the playoffs, where they can be dangerous. At worst, he fails to fit in and and doesn’t make much of an impact at all this season. It’s likely to fall somewhere in between, but for a full season, there is no reason why he can’t get the Revs around 20 goals.
A general manager’s take
I spoke with a general manager of an Eastern Conference team about the move, who liked the player but not the price.
“Bou is a good player, and he had a good last season. He can also play different positions. He’s a good player but not spectacular for a designated player. He will be OK. It’s a lot of money for a guy his age.”
Grading the move
I like the move for the Revs because against some weaker defenses in the Eastern Conference, he can really tear it up. He can be a consistent goal scorer for this team, and despite a steep price, there is a lot of potential here. The Revs have few options in attack, evident by 22 goals in 19 games. Only two teams in the east have less goals scored. Grade: B