Designated Player

Minnesota United adds third Designated Player

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The Loons have added a new midfielder, signing Jan Gregus to a Designated Player contract.

Gregus, 27, comes to Minnesota United from FC Copenhagen, where he has two goals and an assist in 34 appearances across all competitions this season.

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The 22-times capped Slovakian international has also played for Banik Ostrava, Jablonec, FC Nitra, and Bolton Wanderers (though he only played for the U-23 side during his loan).

Here’s what Loons coach Adrian Heath has to say about Gregus. From MNUFC.com:

“The one thing that sticks out is his composure on the ball. He’s got a great range of passes, both short and long. He has a great stride to goal, and an imposing stature at 6 foot 3 inches. The fact that he’s in his pomp — what we consider his prime — we think we have acquired him at the right time in his career. We know we’ve got excellent attacking pieces on the roster, but we need to be able to supply the ball to those pieces and we feel that Jan can be the supplier and connector from the midfield to the attack.”

Minnesota United lands first DP in Club America’s Quintero

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Minnesota United announced the signing of its first Designated Player on Saturday.

That historic figure is Darwin Quintero, the 30-year-old Club America winger arriving on a low $200,000 transfer fee.

Quintero was more playmaker than finisher for the Mexico City club, where he fell out of favor with the Mexico City club after a successful run with Santos Laguna.

The diminutive player stands 5-foot-5 and will face a physical test in MLS, but should produce at a good clip for the Loons.

And it’s great news for big target man Christian Ramirez.

Here’s coach Adrian Heath, from mnufc.com:

Bringing a player with Darwin’s quality and pedigree is another step in the right direction for this club,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “He’s a player with the finishing of a striker and the vision to open play up, he’s got great technical ability and our players will enjoy playing with him. We are delighted he has decided to join — he didn’t need a lot of persuading after hearing about the club’s growth, Allianz Field and our incredible fans. The fact that he has only had two different clubs in the past 10 years shows you he wants to be part of a something. He wants to help this club and this community.”

Honestly, this is one of those signings which should be good for the club, but could present some with a step back in perception if he’s an out-and-out, top-of-the-pops star.

New York City signs longtime Atalanta mid to DP deal

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Maxi Moralez is headed for Yankee Stadium, New York City FC announced its third Designated Player on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Argentine midfielder has a knack for the final pass, and was a difference maker for several seasons in the Serie A with Atalanta.

More recently, he posted seven goals and 10 assists for Leon in Liga MX.

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Moralez is fired up to play for Patrick Vieira, and alongside Andrea Pirlo and David Villa. Here’s what else he had to say, from NewYorkCityFC.com:

“Maxi is dynamic, he’s direct and he’s very good in one v. one situations. He can create chances and can score goals. He’s a really creative player who can make an assist – he can create something from nothing and I believe that our fans will love him.”

LA Galaxy sign midfielder Romain Alessandrini from Marseille

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) French midfielder Romain Alessandrini joined the LA Galaxy as a designated player Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Alessandrini spent the past 2 1/2 seasons with Marseille, his hometown club. He previously spent two seasons with Rennes in France’s top league.

Alessandrini had 11 goals and nine assists in his Marseille career, but made only eight appearances this season. His playing time was likely to decrease even more with the recent arrival of Dimitri Payet from West Ham.

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With his career stalled at Marseille, Alessandrini elected to start over with the Galaxy, who have revamped their roster after failing to win their record sixth MLS title last season.

In an interview with the Galaxy’s website, Alessandrini said he is coming to “the best club in the United States.” He cited former Galaxy stars David Beckham and Steven Gerrard as inspirations for his move.

“He is in the prime of his career, and has spent time playing at a top division in Europe,” Galaxy general manager Peter Vagenas said in a statement. “Romain will play a valuable role in our team’s success this season.”

Alessandrini fills one of the Galaxy’s two vacant designated player slots after the offseason departures of Robbie Keane and Gerrard, who left along with Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, Jeff Larentowicz, Leonardo, Alan Gordon and Bruce Arena, their longtime coach and general manager.

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Mexican star Giovani Dos Santos occupies a designated player slot, and the third seems likely to go to Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme, who is returning from an outstanding debut season with the Galaxy.

Alessandrini’s speed down the left side will boost the Galaxy’s offseason makeover of their midfield alongside fellow newcomers Joao Pedro and Jermaine Jones. Sebastian Lletget is likely to get a larger role along with fellow holdover Emmanuel Boateng.

The Galaxy began camp earlier in January under new coach Curt Onalfo. They open the regular season March 4.

Chicago Fire add Designated Player striker from Legia Warsaw

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If the Polish Ekstraklasa is anywhere near or better the standard of Major League Soccer, the Chicago Fire have landed a good one.

The Fire’s latest Designated Player is Legia Warsaw striker Nemanja Nikolic, whose 23 times capped as a Hungarian national teamer.

[ MORE: Bobby Wood scores again for Hamburg ]

Chicago finished last in the Eastern Conference during its first year under coach Veljko Paunovic.

“I am very happy to be joining Chicago Fire. From the moment the club expressed interest and especially after speaking with manager Veljko Paunovic, and although I had other offers, this is where I wanted to be,” Nikolic said in a Fire press release.

“Through this transfer, we have secured a champion in his prime, and one of the most prolific goal scorers in Europe over the last few years,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez. “In addition to his on-field talents, Nemanja is a fantastic person. His relentless pursuit of victory and goals is certain to make him a fan favorite.”

A 28-year-old center forward, Nikolic has 19 goals in 31 matches this year including a tally against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League.

He has 194 total goals in 326 club appearances, also playing for Videoton, Kaposvar, Kaposvolgye, and Barcs.

Follow @NicholasMendola