Dielna offers "a lot of options" as Revolution eye changes to leaky defense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – About a month and a half ago, an agent brought Claude Dielna to the attention of the New England Revolution’s coaching staff.

Flash forward to late July, and the Revs have their man, inking the 29-year-old French center back to a deal on Friday.

The goal, general manager Mike Burns said, is for Dielna to help gird New England’s struggling defense. Dielna served as a captain for clubs of note throughout Europe, most recently playing for Dinamo Bucharest of Romania’s top flight, Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship and AC Ajaccio while they were in France’s Ligue 1.

“We’ve conceded a lot goals this year,” Burns said. “I think if you look right now, most importantly, our record isn’t good enough. We’re third[-worst] in the East in goals conceded, so our roster is never fixed. … He can come in and helps us solidify the defense and the backline. That’s the main reason that we added him.”

Dielna spent Wednesday and Thursday with the Revolution, mostly to complete his medical and meet the coaching staff, as Jay Heaps and his staff previously seen the Frenchman via video. A left-footed player, Heaps noted that Dielna has the ability to play left back and should compete for a starting spot right away.

“He’s primarily played center back, but it gives us a lot of options,” Heaps said. “That’s what we need. We need options to go three in the back, center back with a left foot, left back with a more of aerial presence. Things like that are going to be important with us to have some options defensively.”

This signing marks New England’s continued pursuit to improve their defense. They’ve inked goalkeeper Cody Cropper, holding midfielder Xavier Kouassi and center backs Antonio Delamea and Benjamin Angoua during the last 18 months, and further moves could be on the way.

Burns said the Revs recently had offers out to other players, though those didn’t materialize. As of now, New England are in conversations to add players – both on the attacking and defensive side – with the hope of completing more moves before the Secondary Transfer Window closes Aug. 9.

“We are looking to add additional players before the close of the window, or even after the window depending on what the contractual status is of a particular player,” Burns said. “That doesn’t guarantee that it’ll happen. We’d hope to and would like to add another player or two to this signing. We feel like we have the roster space to do so and we intentionally left some spots open for this.”

While the Revs await Dielna’s official eligibility for match play, the center back does speak English, a factor Heaps said will help ease his transition onto the backline. That also stood out to Burns, who added that the Frenchman “checks off a lot of those boxes” for New England.

“One, we think he’s a good player,” Burns said. “Two, he has a lot of experience playing throughout Europe. He speaks English pretty well, which helps. He’s been a captain at many of his clubs. He’s 29 years old, so he’s in the prime of his career. He checks off a lot of those boxes for us.”