The Revolution announced the signing of 23-year-old striker Giacomo Vrioni from Italian club Juventus earlier this week on a Designated Player deal that spans the 2025 MLS season (the deal also includes a club option additional year).
In total, the transfer fee would cost New England around $4 million.
According to Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena, Vrioni is set to make his debut “probably mid-July”, subject to when he can get his visa and international transfer certificate.
Until then, here are a few things to know about the team’s newest recruit:
He will play in the “No. Role 9”
Following the June departure of Adam Buksa – the Revolution’s top scorer for the past two years – to French club RC Lens in a $10million transfer, a hole the size of one striker was left in the team’s lineup.
Granted, New England could still call on the services of another Designated Player (and Goalscorer) in Gustavo Bou, but the Argentina striker is more suited to play in pockets of space that are wide or slightly removed from the front line. .
Fellow Revolution striker Jozy Altidore, a 32-year-old U.S. national team veteran, is more of a true center forward (a role known as “No.9” in traditional football terms). Yet despite hopes that Altidore – acquired earlier in 2022 from Toronto – can overcome several injury-plagued seasons and make an impact with New England, he simply hasn’t been able to produce until now. In 15 appearances, he scored just one goal.
So, as a 6ft2in striker coming off a season in which he crossed the 20-goal threshold, Vrioni appears to possess both the size and skill set to replace Buksa up front. team attack.
Arena confirmed this during their press conference after the signing was announced.
“[Vrioni] going to play the striker position, the No.9 position which was obviously previously occupied by Adam Buksa,” explained Arena. “I think he is a good option in this position and gives us strength there now.”
He arrives in New England after a breakthrough season in Austria
After coming through the youth academy of Italian club Sampdoria, Vrioni spent several seasons on loan at several lower league stops.
At the start of 2020, he caught the eye of scouts for Juventus, one of Italy’s most prestigious clubs, before signing and joining the U-23 side. Vrioni made two appearances for senior Juventus and nine for the U-23 side (scoring two goals).
He appeared to find his form again in the 2021-22 season, when Austrian Bundesliga side WSG Tirol secured him on a one-year loan. In total, Vrioni finished with 21 goals in 30 games in all competitions.
“He had an outstanding goalscoring record this year in the Austrian league,” Arena said, “and we took note of the fact that a number of players who came from that league to MLS did well, so we think that’s a good fit.”
While there’s no guarantee of success in a new country and a new league, Vrioni’s recent stats indicate he’s coming to New England after the best stretch of his professional career.
He has dual nationality and plays for Albania at international level
Hailing from the Marche region of Italy, Vrioni originally played for the Italian national team at youth level. In 2018, he switched allegiance to his other nationality, Albania.
In his very first game for Albania (playing for the U-21 side), Vrioni scored against his former side Italy in a 3-1 loss.
Since then, Vrioni has made six appearances for the Albanian senior national team.
Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com