The New England Revolution made a major move on Monday, when the club announced that it has signed Ivorian midfielder Xavier Kouassi to a Designated Player contract.
Kouassi, 26, will join the Revs in July, after his contract with Swiss club FC Sion expires following the end of the European season and upon the opening of MLS’s secondary transfer window on July 8.
“Xavier is an athletic, versatile player,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said in a statement released by the club. “We believe he will add a presence to our midfield and improve the overall quality of our team.”
Monday’s announcement seemingly cements the notion that US international Jermaine Jones won’t be returning to New England in 2016. Kouassi plays the same holding midfielder spot as Jones, who is reportedly looking for a DP contract to remain in MLS. Kouassi is currently the only DP on the Revs roster, and New England would be unlikely to give another lucrative deal to a second holding midfielder.
Kouassi has been with Sion since July 2013, and has captained the club for the last two seasons. He has four assists in 82 appearances in all competitions with the club, who he led to the 2015 Swiss Cup title and to an appearance in this season’s UEFA Europa League Round of 32.
Prior to joining Sion, Kouassi spent four seasons with Swiss club Servette FC. He helped Servette gain promotion to the Swiss Super League in 2011, and totaled two goals and four assists in 104 appearances for the club.
He was capped once by the Ivory Coast national team in a 2011 friendly.
“As a captain and leader of his current club we feel we’ve acquired a player in Xavier who is in the prime of his career,” New England head coach Jay Heaps said in the statement. “We look forward to his arrival.”