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MLS Ticker: Inter Miami trying to finalize Pizarro deal, Crew add Etienne, and more

One of Concacaf’s most talented playmakers could be on the verge of joining Inter Miami, but the team apparently still has some work to do in order to secure his services.

Inter Miami has publicly identified Mexican international Rodolfo Pizarro as a transfer target in recent days, but, according to a report from the Athletic, has not been able to complete a deal because he has yet to agree to personal terms with the MLS expansion franchise. The attacking midfielder’s current club, Liga MX side Monterrey, and Inter Miami have supposedly already agreed to a transfer fee worth under $10 million, but the hold-up right now is over Pizarro’s desires for his contract.

On Tuesday, Monterrey sporting director Duilio Davino stated publicly that the Mexican outfit has given Pizarro until Thursday to resolve his potential transfer to David Beckham’s team. If a deal is not completed for the 25-year-old attacker by then, Monterrey has said it plans to reincorporate Pizarro back into the squad and then potentially look to sell him to a European club.

“We like players to want to go to Europe and that make it to Europe,” Monterrey sporting director Duilio Davino told Fox Sports Mexico on Tuesday.

Still looking to sign two Designated Players before the start of the MLS season, Inter Miami has recently set its sights on Pizarro to fill one of those slots and bolster an attack that is short on top-end talent. Inter Miami has also publicly stated it is in the market for a striker.

Crew adds former Red Bull midfielder Etienne

The Columbus Crew plucked a young midfielder from Eastern Conference foes, the New York Red Bulls, on Tuesday.

Derrick Etienne Jr signed with the Crew on Tuesday after having him on trial for the early parts of preseason. The four-year MLS veteran joins from the Red Bulls after seeing his option declined at the end of 2019.

Etienne, 23, helped the Red Bulls lift the 2018 MLS Supporters’ Shield, as well as the 2016 USL Cup and Regular Season Championship with Red Bulls II. He most recently spent the second half of last season on loan with FC Cincinnati.

A Homegrown Player for the Red Bulls, Etienne made 60 appearances for the club, scoring six goals and providing four assists. He made five appearances for FC Cincinnati last year.

At the international level, Etienne has earned 22 caps and scored three goals with the Haiti National Team since making his debut in 2016.

Etienne is the 10th first-team midfielder on the Crew’s roster for 2020.

Red Bulls add Thelwell as Head of Sport

The New York Red Bulls’ front office structure just changed a little bit.

Kevin Thelwell was named Head of Sport on Monday, joining the Red Bulls from English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers. The 46-year-old Thelwell will take over the newly-created position with the Eastern Conference club immediately, and will oversee all aspects of the sporting side of the club while sporting director Denis Hamlett remains in charge of day-to-day soccer operations. Hamlett will report to Thelwell.

“On behalf of everyone at the organization, I’d like to welcome Kevin to our club,” Red Bulls GM Marc de Grandpre said in a prepared statement. “Kevin has a tremendous resume and demonstrated experience helping a club attain new levels of success with Wolverhampton. He is well respected within the international soccer community and fits well within our culture.

“This is a welcome addition as we continue our pursuit of delivering the MLS Cup to our fans.”

Thelwell was appointed sporting director at Wolves in summer 2016 after three years as Head of Football Development and Recruitment. In that initial role, Thelwell oversaw all football-related matters at the club and Wolves went from England’s third tier during the 2013-14 season to winning the EFL Championship during the 2017-18 campaign, earning promotion to the Premier League in the process.

During their first Premier League season, Wolves finished seventh, qualifying for a return to European competition with a spot in this season’s UEFA Europa League. Wolves currently sit eighth in the Premier League, level with Manchester United in the standings and just six points out of a top-four spot.

FC Cincinnati adds forward Locadia on loan

The deal is official. Jurgen Locadia is the newest attacking signing for FC Cincinnati.

The Dutch forward has joined the Eastern Conference club on loan as a Designated Player from English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion. His loan will run until July 5, with FC Cincinnati having an option to purchase Locadia on a permanent deal.

“We are excited to bring in a proven forward in Jurgen to strengthen our attacking abilities,” FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp said in a prepared statement. “He is a talented goalscorer in his prime and we feel adding an impact player of his caliber will be a great addition to our club. We look forward to welcoming Jurgen to our club and city.”

The 26-year-old Locadia will occupy an international roster spot and will officially join FC Cincinnati’s roster on Feb. 12. He most recently was on loan with German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, scoring four goals in 11 appearances.

In total, Locadia has made 231 career appearances, scoring 72 goals and registering 42 assists in nine professional seasons. He has played for PSV Eindhoven, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Hoffenheim, all while winning five domestic trophies in the Netherlands.

Impact add Haitian midfielder Saba

Thierry Henry continues to add young attacking talent to the Montreal Impact’s roster for 2020.

The club signed Haitian midfielder Steeven Saba on a one-year contract, with options for 2021 and 2022. Despite representing Haiti, Saba holds an American passport and will not occupy an international roster spot.

Saba, 26, is officially joining the Impact after taking part in the first phase of training camp in Montreal and Orlando. He played the last two seasons with Violette Athletic Club, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the Championnat National.

“Steeven confirmed the qualities we saw before inviting him to camp,” Impact sporting director Olivier Renard said in a statement released by the club. “We are very happy to see him join the Impact and start the second phase of training camp as a full-time player.”

At the international level, Saba has earned 12 caps with the Haitian National Team after making his senior debut in May 2018. He was named to the Best XI of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage after starting all five games for the Grenadiers.

Atlanta United acquires Brazilian midfielder Rossetto

Following the loss of several key players this offseason, Atlanta United have added some midfield depth.

The club signed 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder Matheus Rossetto for an undisclosed transfer fee, using Targeted Allocation Money to do so. Rossetto, who could fill the void left by Darlington Nagbe’s departure earlier this offseason, will occupy an international roster slot on the Five Stripes’ roster.

“Matheus is a technically gifted midfielder who gets around the field well,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement issued by the club. “He fits our club profile, having already played in 70-plus league matches at only 23-years-old, along with international experience in Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.

“We’re pleased to add him to the team and look forward to him strengthening our midfield immediately.”

Prior to signing with Atlanta United, Rossetto had spent his entire career with Athletico Paranaense after joining the club’s academy in 2009. He made 71 appearances in the Brazilian Serie A with the team, scoring five goals and helping it win domestic trophies during his time there.


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