San Jose Earthquakes sign Valeri Qazaishvili as designated player
The San Jose Earthquakes have signed Georgia international midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili to a designated player contract, the MLS club announced on Thursday.
The 24-year-old moves to San Jose after spending six years with Dutch club Vitesse, though he spent most of last season on loan with Polish side Legia Warsaw, where he made 16 league and cup appearances, scoring one goal.
He faced both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage last season.
With Vitesse, Qazaishvili made 122 league and cup appearances, scoring 28 goals.
The player nicknamed "Vako" becomes the Quakes' youngest-ever designated player and joins Simon Dawkins and Chris Wondolowski on DP deals at the Avaya Stadium.
"We were looking for a player, a younger, offensive player, that really excites the fans and has the possibility to stay with us for a long period of time. That's what we found with Vako," Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a statement.
"We wanted a player that knows how to take on a defender one-on-one, that sees the goal and that also wants to bring a spark to our game."
Qazaishvili has been a Georgia international since 2014, making 25 appearances and scoring five goals. During Georgia's World Cup qualifying campaign, Qazaishvili has played in a wide midfield role in the team's 4-2-3-1 formation, while occasionally operating as a central playmaker.
Acquiring an attacking midfielder has been a priority for Fioranelli ever since he was hired in January. San Jose signed midfielder Jhamir Hyka, along with forwards Marco Urena and Danny Hoesen in the offseason, and the Quakes' attack has improved to a degree, tied for ninth in MLS with 9.25 chances created per game.
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