TRANSFER_Mikael Marqués

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

Minnesota United FC have bolstered their defense before the 2023 MLS season, announcing Monday they’ve signed Swedish center back Mikael Marqués from AFC Eskilstuna.

The 21-year-old, who last played in his homeland’s second division (Superettan), has signed with the Loons through the 2025 season with an option for 2026.

“Mikael comes highly recommended. Several big teams in Sweden, Norway and Denmark were starting to take an interest but we got him through a good contact of ours who felt Mikael had so much upside,” Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath said in a release.

“It’s an area of the field that we’ve been trying to get more depth. … He’s 21, incredibly athletic, has played fullback, played right side in a three-man backline, played right side of a four – there’s a lot of versatility there. We’re excited to get him in and we feel he’s only just started. There’s a lot of growth in him.”

Marqués has played nearly 50 professional games, also featuring at Jönköpings Södra IF in Sweden before his last stop at AFC. He is Minnesota’s second new center back this offseason after they previously signed Canadian international Doneil Henry.

Aside from Henry and Marqués, Minnesota return a veteran-heavy center back corps of Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman and Bakaye Dibassy. The latter is recovering from a long-term injury, however, after suffering a ruptured quadricep tendon last August.

The Loons, who have made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs across four consecutive years, open their new season at FC Dallas on Feb. 25 (8:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).