It has finally been reported that the Union have singed Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta on a free transfer using targeted allocation money from the Sheanon Williams trade.
The former Bundesliga veteran from Schalke 04 has made 22 appearances while adding three goals and tallying five assists in the past season in Germany. Internationally, Barnetta has made 75 appearances for Switzerland including being apart of the squad for the past three World Cups.
Barnetta supplies the Union with additional stability in the central position – a spot which will need support after Vincent Nogueira injured his hamstring in Sunday’s match against D.C. United keeping him away from play until late August.
Barnetta practiced with the team last Thursday and even traveled with the Union to D.C. on Sunday. Coach Jim Curtin and technical director Chris Albright succeeded in signing an international player who also had bids from the Premier League’s Leicester City and rising La Liga club Real Betis. Here’s what Curtin had to say about the signing:
“Listen, we factored in the fact that a lot of teams are bringing in central players. Look at NYCFC with [Frank] Lampard and [Andrea] Pirlo and you see Kaka in Orlando and you see [Steven] Gerrard in LA. It’s a lot of central midfielders. [Barnetta’s] a guy that’s played against those guys at the highest level and he can do it centrally.”
A player with Barnetta’s caliber of talent has the power to control the pace of the game entirely. Barnetta is the player to help the Union make their playoff push and coach Curtin hinted that it could start with Saturday’s match at PPL Park.