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Parkhurst Signing Shows Crew's Intentions to Improve

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This week the Columbus Crew showed their intentions of improving the club with their signing of Michael Parkhurst and another attempted signing.

Christian Petersen

Heading into this week, the Columbus Crew offseason had brought quite a bit to talk about in many areas.

The new ownership made their first big statement in hiring former U.S. international Gregg Berhalter as the Black and Gold's new boss. Berhalter made his first club-changing move, shipping the team's longest-tenured player, Chad Marshall, to the Seattle Sounders.

It appeared it would be an exciting offseason, but there was little movement thereafter.

There were some minor changes - Andy Gruenebaum was sent to Kansas City, Steve Clark was signed, homegrown players were added - but no moves that were expected to impact the fabric of the club.

Today that changed.

Crew fans woke up to the announcement that Columbus had traded their first-round pick in this week's MLS SuperDraft along with allocation money to the New England Revolution for the rights to U.S. International Michael Parkhurst.

It was also reported today that the Crew were one of the teams not only interested in midfielder Michael Bradley, but were willing to spend more than $15 million for the player.

Both of these show progress for the new regime in Columbus.

For much of the offseason, teams across MLS have made moves to improve their squad.

Toronto F.C. has opened the checkbook to sign England striker Jermaine Defoe as well as Bradley. D.C. United traded for Davey Arnaud and Eddie Johnson while adding Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, and Fabián Espíndola. New England added Charlie Davies, a former U.S. international.

In the Western Conference, the Seattle Sounders not only traded for Marshall, but also acquired goalkeeper Stefan Frei from Toronto and Kenny Cooper from F.C. Dallas.

For a team that has not seen the postseason since 2011, changes were needed, yet Crew fans have become all too familiar with hearing the rumors but seeing no results.

Before Monday's announcement, the biggest player move would either be the addition of defender Waylon Francis or midfielder Daniel Paladini.

With the move for Parkhurst, the Crew does not only replace Marshall with a center back with 23 national team caps and UEFA Champions League experience, but they also make a statement that this club will not be stagnant.

The former MLS Defender of the Year is a welcome signing by fans, who were likely beginning to ask, wonder who would partner Josh Williams in the center of defense.

With just under three months until the Black and Gold kickoff 2014, this will certainly not be the last addition to this team. The Crew has a second and third-round pick in the SuperDraft, which should amount to something - whether a trade or players.

Berhalter has stated that he wants a consistent goal-scoring striker. There are still holes in the midfield that could be addressed. The organization is willing to spend money on a Designate Player if it is the right player - as they apparently believed Bradley would be.

The Crew is not a finished product and there are still questions to be answered. Over the last few days, the organization has begun to provide some answers.