The Philadelphia Union is rumored to be close to signing of FC Nantes striker Fernando Aristeguieta. The deal is reported to be a loan with an option to buy, and the player would be a Young Designated Player. Aristeguieta first played with Caracas where he excelled, scoring 31 goals in 71 matches throughout the 2009-2013 seasons. In his final season with Caracas he lead them in scoring with 14 goals and was crucial to their promotion to Venezuela's top flight.
Aristeguieta was then loaned to Nantes which at the time was playing in France's Ligue 2. In his first season he helped Nantes achieve promotion to Ligue 1 scoring seven goals in seventeen matches. Once in Ligue 1 however, Aristeguieta has struggled. He picked up two leg injuries in early 2014 (one after another), and received his first red card in the Nantes v. Bastia game, picking up a ban that ends on February 22nd. While at Nantes in Ligue 1 he has scored twice in 28 appearances, but only started seven times.
Aristeguieta has twelve caps with the Venezuelan national team. His placement on the first team was predictable as he started on the Venezuelan U15 national team where he scored 3 goals in the South American U15 Championship, as well as caps for the U17 team.
Aristeguieta, only 22 years old, will likely be the Union's go to lone striker up top in the 4-2-3-1 system. He will have to adjust to the Union's formation as Nantes plays the traditional 4-4-2, so for the beginning of the season, expect to see the wings making runs up and playing as forward support as well.
Thoughts on Aristeguieta are mixed. Bryan Ashlock of Cartilage Free Captain (SB Nation's Tottenham Hotspur blog) and a huge Ligue 1 fan said "Sorry. I can't tell you much. He was a bit player for a Nantes team that was pretty meh last year and hasn't played much this year either. He started only a handful of times and I don't ever recall actually noticing him on the pitch. The fact that he can't get a game this year despite the fact that FCN's main striker only has three goals in the league is pretty damning."
Another source told Managing Editor Eugene Rupinski that Aristeguieta's "(A) good player. Rugged. Hard worker." and that while he works hard, is physical, and draws cards he's also average with a tendency to get carded. "Don't let anyone tell you he's a tremendous pickup." the source said.
That being said, beINSPORTS Phil Schoen believes that this could be the Union's greatest transfer ever - if all goes well.
If true, could be one of Union's best moves ever #MLS (FRA) " Nantes : Aristeguieta en MLS ? | France info http://t.co/qTyrPxypbE— Phil Schoen (@PhilSchoen) February 18, 2015
The greatest transfer ever is just what the Union need right now in what has been an otherwise fairly quiet off season.