COLUMBUS, OH– Going into the offseason, the Columbus Crew were tasked with replacing club legend Federico Higuain in the midfield.
They have done so, announcing Friday the signing of Argentine Lucas Zelarayan from Liga MX side Tigres UANL.
Zelarayan has enjoyed a high level of success with Tigres, winning six domestic titles and one international title.
“We are excited to welcome Lucas Zelarayan to Columbus Crew SC,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said. “Lucas is both an intelligent and skillful player whose ability to score and create goals makes him the type of playmaker we want on our team. He has been a key member of one of the most dominant Liga MX teams in recent years, consistently winning national and international titles with Tigres UANL. We expect Lucas to be both a difference-maker and a leader in our squad.”
Zelarayan will be a designated player. With three DPs already on the roster, it is likely a contract of a current DP was bought down.
Historically, the Crew have not signed many designated players and often did not fully use their allotment of three DPs a season. This is already the third designated player contract given out under the new ownership group.
“Lucas was a highly sought-after player in the global transfer market and his signing marks the largest acquisition transfer fee in Club history. We want to thank the Haslam and Edwards families for their investment and continued commitment to making the Crew a team that aims to contend for championships. With their support, we were able to sign a player of Lucas’ caliber. This is a historic moment for the Club,” Bezbatchenko said.
Zelarayan made 139 appearances, scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists across all competitions for Tigres from 2016-2019.