Revs get their man in Moroccan int'l winger Zerka
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It didn't take the New England Revolution very long to decide to chase seasoned attacker Monsef Zerka's signature.
The French-born Moroccan international clearly advanced the Revolution's stated goal of adding fresh options in the final third heading into the denouement of the campaign. Once Zerka landed on their radar through contacts and video evaluations, the Revs moved quickly to complete the deal to acquire the former AS Nancy and Nantes player from Greek side Iraklis on a free transfer last Thursday.
“As we've said all along, we've been looking to add a player or two that we feel is going to help our attack for the remainder of the season,” Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “We brought in Milton [Caraglio]. When Zerka became available, it was something we pursued.
“We got that deal done, so we're looking to get him in here as quickly as possible to give us another option in the attacking third of the field.”
Zerka will make the move to MLS with a decent pedigree established through a career spent primarily in French football. The Orleans, France, native scored 13 times in 88 matches for Nancy in Ligue 1 between 2005 and 2009 and scored the first goal in Nancy's 2-1 victory over OGC Nice in the Coupe de la Ligue final in 2006.
He also possesses significant experience in Ligue 2 (2000-05 with Nancy, 2009-10 with Nantes), though he departed for Greece in January after falling out of favor with former Nantes manager Baptiste Gentili.
In addition to his domestic exploits, Zerka has scored three times in 12 appearances for the Moroccan national team, and he earned a spot in Henri Michel's squad for the 2008 African Cup of Nations. He also featured in the squad that went to the 2004 Summer Olympics and started two matches of the three matches during the group stage.
Although Zerka has operated as an attacking midfielder, second striker and winger in recent seasons, Revolution boss Steve Nicol said he expects to employ his new signing out wide once his P1 visa arrives and he officially joins the roster.
“He can play on either side," Nicol said. "He's got good experience. He'll help us.”
That aid will arrive over the next week or two, though the Revs are hopeful that Zerka will receive the necessary paperwork in time to feature in Nicol's squad for a match in Philadelphia next Sunday.