TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Columbus Crew SC has made a splashy move that gives head coach Caleb Porter a dynamic attacking weapon, announcing on Friday the club has acquired Argentine attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan from Tigres UANL of Liga MX for the largest transfer fee in club history, reportedly topping $7 million.
Zelarayan, 27, will join Crew SC as a Designated Player coming off a four-season run with Tigres that saw him score 23 goals and bag 14 assists across all competitions and establish himself as a key contributor for one of North America's most successful clubs. Prior to joining Tigres, Zelarayan played for Argentine side Belgrano where he tallied 10 goals and dished out six assists in 77 appearances.
"We are excited to welcome Lucas Zelarayan to Columbus Crew SC," president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a club release. "Lucas is both an intelligent and skillful player whose ability to score and create goals makes him the type of playmaker we want on our team. He has been a key member of one of the most dominant Liga MX teams in recent years, consistently winning national and international titles with Tigres UANL. We expect Lucas to be both a difference-maker and a leader in our squad.”
Added Bezbatchenko: "We want to thank the Haslam and Edwards families for their investment and continued commitment to making the Crew a team that aims to contend for championships. With their support, we were able to sign a player of Lucas’ caliber. This is a historic moment for the Club.”
Zelarayan will fill the hole on Crew SC's roster left by midfielder Federico Higuain, who missed most of last year's campaign with a torn ACL before departing the club after an eight-season run that saw him become a Crew icon.
It's the second new signing for Columbus this week following Wednesday's announced signing of free-agent center back Vito Wormgoor as they round out their roster ahead of the 2020 season.
Zelarayan will be officially added to Crew SC's roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.