Columbus Crew SC lock up Milton Valenzuela as Young Designated Player

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Returning

Columbus Crew SC locked up a core piece of their nucleus on Friday, announcing a permanent deal for left back Milton Valenzuela, signing the Argentine as a Young Designated Player.

The 20-year-old was among the league’s top outside backs in 2018 while on loan from Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina. He will occupy an international roster spot for Crew SC pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate. 

Valenzuela is Crew SC’s third Designated Player, joining fellow Argentine Federico Higuain, the club’s No. 10, and Portuguese winger Pedro Santos.

“Milton is a player who was able to make an immediate impact on the field at a young age and has become one of the premier left backs in Major League Soccer. We felt that securing his permanent transfer from Newell’s Old Boys was a priority this offseason,” Crew SC interim general manager Pat Onstad said in a statement. “We are excited to have him back with the club for the upcoming season and look forward to seeing his continued development and growth.”

In his influential first season in the league, Valenzuela made 29 starts in 30 appearances with one goal and six assists — two game-winners. He completed 27 crosses from open play in the regular season — the most of all MLS defenders — and was fourth in the league with 87 tackles, winning 57 of them, placing him third in MLS in that category.

Valenzuela, who was No. 12 on the 22 Under 22 list in 2018, also led Crew SC in tackles per 90 minutes (3.06) and successful open crosses (27).  

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