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Report: Columbus Crew SC’s Rodrigo Saravia to go on loan to IK Frej

The second-year midfielder may be headed out of Columbus for the season.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report out of Sweden, Columbus Crew SC midfielder Rodrigo Saravia is set to go on a season-long loan to IK Frej in the Swedish second division.

Saravia is in his second professional season after the Black & Gold selected the midfielder in the first round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.

In his debut season, Saravia played in 10 games for Columbus, starting one. He also went on loan to Crew SC’s affiliate side, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, on a game-by-game basis, making two appearances.

The native of Guatemala has played six times for his country including twice against the United States, once at MAPFRE Stadium.

News of this loan makes sense due to Saravia’s status with the team. The Black & Gold acquired three central midfielders this offseason in Mohammed Abu, Abuchi Obinwa and Artur and it will likely be difficult to find playing time for the 23 year old.

Head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter was recently asked about the crowded central midfield and stated loan moves would a possibility.

“I think we’ll get creative a little bit with that and look to place guys in environments that we feel will suit the individual developmental needs the most,” he said early last week. “So for example, we think (Ben Swanson) and Abuchi would be suited well for USL at this stage, whereas Rodrigo may need a different type of challenge and we’ll address that when we come to it.”

This challenge may be in Sweden where Saravia can ideally get more game minutes while still playing a higher level than he would in the lower leagues in the U.S.

Columbus are also in a difficult place when it comes to international slots and sending Saravia on a season-long loan would help free up one spot.

Crew SC is currently in the final stage of preseason in Charleston, S.C. as part of the Carolina Challenge Cup, yet Saravia sent out a tweet from Sweden early on Monday morning.