FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution have signed former Lazio and Manchester City midfielder Ousmane Dabo on a free transfer, the club announced on Friday.
Dabo, 34, will join the Revs pending the approval of a P-1 work visa. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, as per league policy.
The former French international will move to MLS after spending his extensive European club career in the English Premier League, Ligue 1 and Serie A. Revolution coach Steve Nicol said Dabo's pedigree sparked the club's interest as it went in search for additional reinforcements in central midfield.
“The name came up, and you look at his career and he's played for some big teams,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com. “The places he's played, you have to be able to pass the ball, control the ball, keep the ball. So that's what we're looking for [from him].”
While Nicol believed Dabo possessed the technical tools to succeed in MLS, he needed to make sure the seasoned holding midfielder could cope with the physical rigors presented by the American top flight.
[inline_node:328611]Nicol traveled to France earlier this month to gauge Dabo's fitness as the Revs contemplated a potential move. Although Dabo did not sign with another club after leaving Lazio when his contract expired last June, he trained with French club Racing Paris and worked out with a personal trainer to keep in shape.
Nicol left France convinced that Dabo could contribute straight away.
“It's a physical league, MLS, and he needed to be up to that,” Nicol said. “It was important that we saw him and saw that he was up to that. He absolutely is and he can play. It's a great combination.”
Nicol and the Revs hope that combination – plus the one Dabo will expect to strike up with projected central midfield partner Shalrie Joseph – will add yet another experienced figure to the starting XI in the wake of Didier Domi's arrival last month.
With two foreign players already in the fold and two more players expected to sign with the Revs in the near future, Nicol said he believes the current squad offers the right blend to spark a playoff push in 2011.
“Looking at last season, although we did have a pile of injuries, we probably did lack a little bit of experience,” Nicol said. “We're certainly going to have plenty of that this year. Hopefully, it'll turn out to be a good mix of experience and youth as well.”