TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The Columbus Crew have acquired midfielder James Igbekeme on loan from Spanish Segunda División side Real Zaragoza for the 2022 MLS season, the club announced Wednesday.

Columbus also retain a purchase option after Igbekeme’s loan expires in December 2022. He will occupy an international roster spot.

“James is a versatile midfielder and his addition will help strengthen our roster,” Crew president & general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a release. “He will provide us with another strong option in the midfield and his contributions will be seen on both sides of the ball. We look forward to welcoming James and his family to Columbus and look forward to incorporating him into our team."

The 26-year-old has scored four goals in 96 league matches for Zaragoza across the last four seasons. A Nigeria native, he featured for Portuguese sides Ribeirão, Oliveirense and Gil Vicente before heading to Spain.

Igbekeme is Columbus’ latest international signing after they previously acquired center back Milos Degenek (free transfer) and forward Yaw Yeboah (from Wisla Krakow) this offseason.

Columbus, MLS Cup champions in 2020, start their upcoming season Feb. 26 when hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC.