Throughout the offseason, Columbus Crew SC have had one glaring need.
With Jukka Raitala gone to the Montreal Impact by way of Los Angels Football Club and the expansion draft and the trade of Waylon Francis to the Seattle Sounders, the Black & Gold’s left back position was wide open.
On Thursday, Crew SC filled that void by signing 19-year-old fullback Milton Valenzuela on loan from Newell’s Old Boys. The news was first reported by Andrew Erickson of The Columbus Dispatch and later confirmed by Massive Report.
If this name sounds familiar, it’s due to rumors regarding Columbus’ interest in Valenzuela dating back to last season. On Tuesday, reports out of Argentina indicated a deal of $1 million for 70 percent of the player’s rights had been agreed upon between Old Boys and the Black & Gold was and just waiting final details.
Valenzuela made 13 appearances for Old Boys since making his debut in 2016. The left back has also played for Argentina’s U-20 National Team 10 times.
As described to Massive Report by those familiar with Valenzuela, he is a player who likes to get up and down the wings, similar to current Crew SC right back Harrison Afful. For a young player, he serves a good ball and should fit in to head coach Gregg Berhalter’s system.
According to Erickson, Valenzuela will classify as a Young Designated Player — a player 23 years or younger that will cost either $150,000 or $200,000 towards the cap. The club will used Targeted Allocation Money to buy down the contract of center back Jonathan Mensah, leaving Valenzuela, Federico Higuain and Pedro Santos as the team’s three Designated Players.