It has been rumored all winter that Fernando Aristeguieta would not be returning to Chester this season, and his parent club made that official today.
In a Deadline Day move, French side FC Nantes decided to loan the 23 year old Venezuelan striker to Ligue 2 outfit Red Star on a six month deal. Aristeguieta had been training with Nantes during the winter, and had remained in France once the Union's training camp began.
Aristeguieta was the Union's major offensive acquisition last season. He was signed on a short term loan that was supposed to last until July, and eventually extended during last summer to cover the entire 2015 MLS season. The club signed him to a young Designated Player deal that in the end paid him $350,000 for the season.
A workhorse in the final third, Aristeguieta turned heads locally early in March when he scored a brace in a wild 3-3 tie against Real Salt Lake. He also notched the winning penalty kick in the Union's US Open quarterfinal victory win over rival New York Red Bulls, however nagging injuries derailed much of the Venezuelan's season and by the time he returned to health, he had been supplanted in the starting eleven by CJ Sapong. In 21 appearances Aristeguieta tallied just five goals for head coach Jim Curtin's side.
Bringing Aristeguieta back stateside would likely required Earnie Stewart and the Union to upgrade Aristeguieta to full Designated Player status. The chances of the Venezuelan returning were always slim. Something to bear in mind - today is Deadline Day in Europe, but the Union can still acquire a striker via loan after today if they find their target on the European continent.