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Norwegian center back signing made official by Philadelphia Union

25-year-old defender Jakob Glesnes was a captain during his time at Stromsgodset in his native Norway

Philadelphia Union

Sporting Director Ernst Tanner has made a number of offseason moves designed to shore up a defense that conceded 50 times in 2019, adding two promising defensive midfielders with the acquisitions of Matej Oravec and Jose Andres “El Brujo” Martinez.

This week he also added a experienced center back, finalizing a deal with 25-year-old Norwegian Jakob Glesnes, whose acquisition from the Norwegian club he captained was officially announced by the team on Friday afternoon.

“To become a captain of a club at 25-years-old is a remarkable feat for a young player and what attracted us to Jakob in addition to his strong aerial presence and front-foot defense,” Tanner said in a news release announcing the signing. “Coming from a club with a similar style of play, Jakob will be able to easily transition into our system, making him a valuable asset to our defense and club.”

Glesnes was acquired from Stromsgodset in Norway using targeted allocation money ($300k of 2020 TAM was acquired in the Auston Trusty trade) and signed to a two-year contract with club options for a third and fourth season. The Union paid an undisclosed transfer fee for the 6-foot-2 center back who gives the team four center backs on the roster with Jack Elliott, Mark McKenzie and veteran Aurelien Collin.

Elliott is under contract through 2021 with a club option for 2022 and McKenzie just recently signed an extension through 2022 with club options for 2023 and 2024.

The addition of Glesnes means the club will have control over all three center backs through 2022.

How head coach Jim Curtin handles the trio of starting quality defenders— he’s hinted at experimenting with three at the back — will be something to watch as the season approaches. The possibility of Mark McKenzie missing extended time if the U.S. Under-23 team qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics in March means all three players will get time even in a traditional four-man back line with Collin playing the mentor and emergency back-up role.