With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at New England Revolution and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…
The 2017 season wasn’t one New England Revolution fans will remember fondly. The team finished seventh in the Eastern Conference for the second successive season. Their 13-15-6 record wasn’t terrible but the squad underperformed and conceded far too many goals. Only LA Galaxy and Minnesota United conceded more goals than the Revs (61) last time out. Brad Friedel has replaced Jay Heaps as the new head coach and Revs fans will hope his arrival ensures the defence is more solid in 2018 as they look to return to the playoffs. Lee Nguyen’s future remains unclear as the playmaker still wants out. He has returned to preseason training but it looks like being a long and potentially damaging transfer saga for both the club and the player…
Cristian Penilla: With Kei Kamara leaving (more on that below), New England had to ensure they brought in a fresh attacking option. The man they have turned to is Ecuadorian striker Cristian Penilla. The 26-year-old has played in the top flight in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico, playing over 200 games. He joins New England on loan but with the option to buy at the end of the season. He might end up being a Designated Player for the Revs, but they are also considering using Targeted Allocation Money to buy down his contract if another big signing is made.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) February 14, 2018
Jalil Anibaba: The Revs addressed their defensive issues by signing experienced MLS defender Anibaba. The 29-year-old joins the club after leaving Houston at the end of the 2017 campaign. He has played 166 regular season games since 2011 for Chicago, Seattle, Sporting KC and Houston. He might not be a regular starter but he’ll add some vital depth across the entire backline.
Wilfried Zahibo: Expect to see a lot of Zahibo in 2018. The French midfielder is a powerful ball-winner, who is vastly experienced despite being just 24. He joins the Revs on a free transfer after leaving Spanish second division side Gimnastic de Tarragona. He has previously played for Ajaccio, Fuenlabrada and Valencia. Friedel is likely to use Zahibo alongside Scott Caldwell in the centre of midfield.
Gabriel Somi: Another defensive addition, Somi is a Swedish-born Syrian who is most comfortable at left-back, but can play a number of positions. He joins on a free after departing Östersunds FK, who have been one of the Europa League’s success stories in 2017/18.
Kei Kamara: The powerful striker has moved on after one-and-a-half seasons. It comes as no surprise after the player admitted he had never completely settled following his move from Columbus Crew midway through the 2016 season. His next challenge will be in Vancouver, after the Canadian side sent the Revs their first-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in a trade for Kamara. He scored 12 goals and assisted five more in 31 games in 2017.
— KEI KAMARA (@keikamara) January 18, 2018
Benjamin Angoua: The 31-year-old defender leaves New England after just one season. He played 26 games and the club had the option to make his loan move permanent but declined after the Revs struggled so badly at the back in 2017. He has since returned to France with Guingamp.
Xavier Kouassi: The midfield enforcer is perhaps unfortunate to have been moved on after just two seasons. Kouassi joined the Revs as a Designated Player in 2016 but was ruled out for the season after picking up a serious injury almost immediately. He played 23 games in 2017 and was impressive when healthy. However, New England decided not to give him one more season and have replaced him with Zahibo.
Gershon Koffie: Another midfielder to have left is Gershon Koffie. The 26-year-old has returned to Swedish side Hammarby after his loan expired. He played 23 games last season but couldn’t really stamp his mark on the midfield, despite his reputation of being a tough-tackling box-to-box engine. His departure, along with Kouassi’s and Daigo Kobayashi’s means the Revs will have a very different midfield in 2018.