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Columbus Crew sign centerback Vito Wormgoor

The 31-year-old arrives fromSK Brann in Norway on a free transfer

Nov 4, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC fans after the match against the New York Red Bulls at Mapfre Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Crew added another centerback Wednesday, signing Vito Wormgoor from SK Brann in Norway. The veteran defender was out of contract, so Columbus did not have to pay a transfer fee.

“We are excited to have Vito join Columbus Crew SC,” Crew SC president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “Vito is a talented and seasoned veteran who has made over 300 appearances in multiple professional European leagues. We believe that his leadership will be a great asset to our team and look forward to seeing his impact on the field.”

This will be Wormgoor’s first team outside of Europe. The 31-year-old should compete for a starting spot alongside Jonathan Mensah, relegating Josh Williams to a bench role. Homegrown prospect Aboubacar Keita and the recently acquired Axel Sjoberg round out a now formidable Columbus centerback depth chart. 

The signing isn’t the only one Crew fans should expect this week. Mexican outlets are reporting that Tigres midfielder Lucas Zelarayan is moving to Columbus for a club-record transfer fee. 

The move would solidify a replacement for Federico Higuain, and indicate a willingness to spend from the new Crew ownership. The 27-year old would slot immediately into the No. 10 playmaking role on the team, allowing Pedro Santos to move back to the wing. 

With two of the most pressing needs likely soon off the table, Columbus could spend the rest of the offseason looking for depth pieces as the club prepares to bounce back from a disappointing 2019.

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