Designated Player

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FC Cincinnati signs one-time Brighton record transfer Locadia

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FC Cincinnati got it done: Jurgen Locadia on loan from Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

The loan will run just a few months before Cincy will have to decide on its option to buy on July 5.

It’s an incredible low-risk deal for Cincy, besides his PL wages and the likelihood of a club transfer record come July. If he turns out to be the worst of combustible problems, Cincy isn’t out millions and millions. If he bails after four months, Cincy deserves credit for the effort and can seek a solution in the July window.

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Put plainly: It’s a new one for MLS, as a Premier League club transfer record attacker joins an MLS side within a couple of years of the aforementioned transfer.

We say likelihood because it would be truly surprising if Locadia doesn’t score goals. The second-year MLS club gets a 26-year old who was a club-record signing for Brighton in 2018.

Locadia bagged six goals and two assists in 43 appearances for Brighton but has four goals and an assist on loan to Hoffenheim this season.

The numbers didn’t impress in relation to his price tag, but the English and German top flights are levels above still-growing MLS. And his production at PSV Eindhoven before Brighton was special: 176 appearances, 62 goals and 39 assists across all competitions.

The only danger is he might not find the league, travel, and nation to his liking, though he stressed he’s spent plenty of time in some of the United States’ biggest cities.

Here’s what Locadia told Cincinnati.com’s Pat Brennan regarding what will go into the decision come July 5:

“I think the main thing for me is playing games. Like, play all the games, but obviously it’s my thing also. I need to show the coach that I want to play and be important for the team,” Locadia said. “Beside that, scoring goals and I think I will like it here, of course, because I’ve been in the United States often. Depends on the league also. Like, the level of the league.”

Locadia is a Designated Player, joining fellow Cincy new boy Yuya Kubo, a permanent signing from Genk.

Almost regardless of how this move plays out in MLS, it’s a statement-making success for the league.

Timbers announced new DP striker from Legia Warsaw

Portland Timbers
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The Portland Timbers added another intriguing piece to their attack on Thursday with the unveiling of Polish striker Jaroslaw “Jarek” Niezgoda.

Niezgoda will be a Designated Player.

The 24-year-old striker joins recently-reupped Diego Valeri and new signing Yimmi Chara as key pieces of a Portland attack which also includes USMNT hopeful Jeremy Ebobisse and Peruvian international Andy Polo.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Niezgoda comes from Legia Warsaw, where he’s scored 29 times in 60 matches with the club. That includes 14 goals in 18 matches this season.

The numbers aren’t far off from one of the Polish league’s best exports: Nemanja Nikolic, who went on to a successful few seasons as a Designated Player for the Chicago Fire. Given the age and experience, this is close to an ideal MLS transfer aside from the big-name marketing appeal.

Timbers coach Giovani Savarese details a striker prepared to score plenty of goals in Major League Soccer, filling a dire need after the unfortunate exit of Brian Fernandez.

“He’s quick,” Savarese said, beginning his scouting report. “He’s a player that can sense inside the box where the ball is going to end up, and has a good knack [of finding] the ball and [scoring] goals … He’s elusive at finding space. He’s good with the head, reads the game very well.”

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

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.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines, Week 18 ]

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.

[ MORE: Bayern 5-1 Arsenal | 3 things ]

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.”