TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Loan
Columbus Crew SC lost two of their left backs this offseason, with Jukka Raitala selected in the Expansion Draft and Waylon Francis traded to Seattle after declining his option, but they have filled that position in grand fashion.
On Friday, Crew SC announced that they acquired Milton Valenzuela on loan from Newell's Old Boys, with an option to purchase his contract after the season. The 19-year-old joins Columbus as a young Designated Player with the club utilizing Targeted Allocation Money to buy down Jonathan Mensah's contract in 2018.
Valenzuela joins Crew SC after a brief professional career with Newell's, making 16 total appearances since his debut on Feb. 6, 2016. He also appeared in two matches for the club in Copa Argentina.
“Milton is a talented, young player who has a high pedigree at both the professional and youth international level,” said sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter in a club release. “His skillset has allowed him to gain critical experience playing in one of the continent’s most competitive leagues while featuring prominently for Argentina’s Under-20 National Team. Milton has the character and determination to succeed in MLS and we are excited to welcome him to Columbus Crew SC, where we expect him to make an immediate impact.”
At the international level, Valenzuela has featured for Argentina’s Under-20 squad, earning 10 caps (nine starts). The defender featured in eight of Argentina’s nine matches at the 2017 South American Youth Football Championship, making seven starts while helping Argentina qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea. Valenzuela also made two appearances (all starts) in the group stage of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
"MLS gets better year after year and good players continue to go there. In the last few years I think the League has become more attractive – I’ve watched a few games and I’ve enjoyed the soccer," said Valenzuela in an interview with the club. "Last season I followed Columbus Crew SC closely and they have a great team. I think that helped me decide to join the group. As I was saying, I followed the club last year and they had a great year. [Crew SC] Came up short in the match against Toronto, but overall I think they performed well all year."