SAO PAULO (AP) — Sao Paulo has signed promising Brazil playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso from rival Brazilian club Santos for a reported $12 million.
The midfielder, one of the top players in Brazilian football in recent years, joined the club on a five-year contract.
The announcement by Sao Paulo on Friday came the day the local transfer window closed, ending several weeks of negotiations between the clubs.
Ganso had already said he was not happy playing for Santos, but the club made it difficult for the transaction to happen because it didn't want him at a rival club. Attempts at an international transfer failed.
"It's a dream come true," Ganso said. "Ever since Sao Paulo showed interest in signing me I wanted to get the deal done. I can't wait to get on the field and pay back for all the effort that the club directors put into this."
The player will be officially introduced to fans before Sao Paulo's home match against Cruzeiro in the Brazilian league on Sunday. He is recovering from a muscle injury on his left thigh and isn't expected to make his debut for a few weeks.
The 22-year-old Ganso teamed up with Neymar to make Santos one of Brazil's most successful clubs in recent years. The team won the Copa Libertadores in 2011 and the Brazilian Cup in 2010, as well as the last three Sao Paulo state championships. Ganso was the most valuable player in the Brazilian Cup.
Santos wanted Ganso to transfer to another Brazilian club, Gremio, but the player dismissed the possibility because he wanted to stay closer to his daughter, born just a few months ago in Sao Paulo. Gremio said this week it had given up on trying to sign Ganso.
In addition to receiving the $12 million, which is the amount of the buyout clause on Ganso's contract, Santos reportedly will also have the right to receive 5 percent of the player's future transfers. The buyout clause would be significantly reduced in March 2013. The clause for an international transfer was €50 million ($65 million).
Santos fans had been critical of Ganso since he made public his desire to leave the club. Ganso reportedly wanted the same financial conditions and career plan that the club had been offering Neymar in contract negotiations. Last year, there had been rumors of a possible move by Ganso to Inter Milan, but the deal never materialized.