The Philadelphia Union have acquired a striker on loan with the expected signing of 22-year-old FC Nantes forward Fernando Aristeguieta as reported by Kevin Kinkead on Twitter. He describers the forward below:
"A natural center forward with plenty of upside. At six-foot-two, 180 pounds, he fits the mold of the physical, yet the striker needed for Jim Curtin’s presumed 4-2-3-1 shape. His skill-set looks to be a combination of target man and poacher qualities, not dissimilar from that of a young Conor Casey or Brian Ching. He’s not the fastest player on the field, but he seems to position himself well and has the height to connect with crosses into the box."
He should sign with the Union as a young DP on loan with an option to purchase the player when the loan expires, but that is not guaranteed at this time. This latest reported player on loan gives the Union the depth that Jim Curtin was looking for at the striker position. It also fulfills the promise that Jim Curtin and Chris Albright made when they said that players will be signed before the season starts.
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The Union have clearly revealed a strategy of targeting players who are young, but fell out of favor with their current club. This was the same strategy that landed them Steven Vitoria from Benfica of Portugal’s Primeira Liga on February 9th, 2015. Aristeguieta is the type of player that Curtin loves as he stands 6’2″ and gives the Union the height Curtin thought they needed coming into the 2015 season.
With this latest signing, all that might be left for the Union to acquirer is a naturally left footed left back. If they don’t, it would seem that Saint Louis defender Raymond Lee, drafted at No. 71 overall, will have a chance to make the team as a backup. Curtin now has the team he envisioned and Albright has done a good job finding the players who though are talented enough to play in Europe and are willing to come to America with the promise of playing time and the comfortable life style they can enjoy in America.
This is one of the strengths MLS can use going forward as many a player from overseas is now looking at the ever improving quality of the league. Although he was having trouble breaking into the lineup at FC Nantes, Aristeguieta has been capped by Venezuela National team 13 times. He is probably looking to get time on the field to develop and become a permanent fixture on his national team.
At 22, Venezuela is the sort of DP that fans of MLS have been calling for. Although he isn’t a household name, he is the type of player with a huge upside and can grow with the Union. If he is successful, this might be a growing trend for MLS as more foreign coaches are starting to see the value of playing time over sitting on the bench in Europe.