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LAFC sign defender Andy Najar

Former MLS Rookie of the Year returns after long stint in Belgium.

RSC Anderlecht v Fenerbahce - UEFA Europa League - Group D Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Los Angeles Football Club have made their first roster move of the post-coronavirus shutdown era, signing defender Andy Najar on a free transfer from Belgian club Anderlecht, the deal officially taking place on July 1 after his current contract expires.

The 27-year-old was linked with LAFC in February, and the player was spotted in postgame photos with the club in his street clothes on at least one occasion in the spring, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the MLS season.

In addition, LAFC needed to be atop the Allocation Order in MLS to swing the deal, as Najar is on that list, and they accomplished that in a trade with Nashville SC on Feb. 26.

Najar began his professional career as a homegrown signing with D.C. United back in 2010, winning MLS Rookie of the Year that season. Starting out as a speedy right winger, he ended up mixing in time at right back before being sold to Anderlecht in 2013. With the Mauves, he won three league titles and had been linked intermittently to moves elsewhere in Europe. However, injury troubles over the years have limited Najar at times in Belgium, and that’s why they were willing to let him leave on a free.

Najar was born in Honduras and has 36 senior caps for Honduras, but he left that country as a boy with his family to grow up in the U.S. He reportedly has a green card.

He also seems to fill a role with LAFC. With Tristan Blackmon the only right back on the roster until now, and Blackmon possibly needed to play center back at some point with that position light as well, Najar is a good option to not only provide depth but also possibly start, as long as he isn’t plagued by injuries, the big issue during his career to date.

But if he stays healthy, this looks like a good move. And his playing style fits with LAFC, so all in all, it looks like a good fit. We’ll see how he does out there on the field.

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