SOTOGRANDE, Spain – Petar Musa is a statement signing from FC Dallas.
The reported transfer fee FC Dallas paid Benfica for Musa’s services is a club record and has the potential to be the third-most expensive in MLS history. And for good reason. Musa is a Croatian international striker entering his prime years and carries a proven goal-scoring record.
"This is huge for the club," said head coach Nico Estévez. "It’s exciting for the fans, for the league. Petar will help us raise our level. He’s a goal scorer but also a really smart player. He’s a hard worker and has great experience through his career that he can bring to our team. We’re adding a player that is not only good technically but also has that physicality which will help us in this league."
During his most prolific campaign, Musa became the Czech first division’s top scorer as a 21-year-old with 14 goals. In his two seasons with Benfica, Musa featured primarily as a super sub and scored a goal every 96 minutes in Liga Portugal. He’s also played at the very highest level, competing in the UEFA Champions League where he scored an equalizer in the second leg of the quarterfinals against Inter Milan. FC Dallas has never had a player of his Musa’s caliber in the prime of his career, until now.
Musa’s talent and goal record meant there were a number of European clubs chasing his signature this transfer window. FC Dallas made him its number one priority, with Technical Director André Zanotta flying to Lisbon earlier this week to get the deal across the line. “I never felt a club wanted me so much as FC Dallas,” Musa told Zanotta. By the numbers, Musa’s acquisition surpasses Alan Velasco as the club’s largest transfer in club history. Musa joins Dallas on a Designated Player contract – meaning the majority of his wages will not count towards the club’s salary cap.
It’s not difficult to see how Musa will fit into head coach Estévez’s team. Dallas was defensively stout in 2023 (conceding the second-fewest goals in the Western Conference) but was less dangerous on the attacking side of things. Musa will likely be the club’s first-choice center forward, with Jesús Ferreira – top scorer in the last two seasons – moving into a support striker role, a position he played to good effect in 2021 alongside Ricardo Pepi.
"Last season, when we needed a goal we put on another forward and moved Jesús (Ferreira) underneath and that’s something that we’ve been training this preseason," Estévez explained. "Because of Petar’s profile, and the profile of the other attacking players, we will be able to feed everyone and it’ll strengthen us on the offensive side."
On the surface, Musa’s profile will fit MLS nicely. At 6-foot-3, Musa is physically imposing while also possessing the necessary speed to trouble opponents’ backlines. Although Dallas typically builds attacks out of the back, Musa and his frame will provide hold-up play and allow the team to bypass its midfield when the situation calls for it. He’ll help FCD vary its playstyle to counter the opponent’s defensive approach more often.
"He’s a goal scorer. He’s always ready to make the right runs and ready in the box," Estévez said. "He has a good shot and is good in the air. He’s also a very smart player, he knows when to come deep to help the team in the build up and link up play. He can hold the ball up if a team is pressing us man to man. He has all the attributes that fit how we want to play."
Musa is scheduled to join up with the team at its preseason training camp in Sotogrande, Spain in the coming days. Since its midway through the European season, Musa is match fit and should be ready to contribute on opening day on Feb. 24 at Toyota Stadium.