The Chicago Fire weren’t the only team to be overhauled for the 2017 season. The San Jose Earthquakes brought in a new GM Jesse Fioranelli and he immediately got to work. The club brought in Danny Hoesen, Jahmir Hyka, Florian Jungwirth, and Marco Urena with target allocation money while also signing Nick Lima as a homegrown player. That was the first phase of Fioranelli’s plan, the second is to begin this summer with a Designated Player signing.
That player appears to be Eredivisie midfielder Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili. According to a Dutch news outlet and ESPNFC, a deal is “98 percent complete.”
Vako played last season on loan at Legia Warsaw the Polish Champions although he’s on the books at Eredivisie side Vitesse. During six seasons with Vitesse, he made 122 total appearances, scoring 28 goals in the process. Fioranelli had this to say to the San Jose Mercury News when asked about a potential mid-season transfer:
For us, it is not about the name. It is about the quality of player who will come. We have a very good gut feeling about that position. It is feeling very good on different levels. It is very aligned where we want to go with the team. It is going to be a breath of fresh air. The profile of player we’re looking at is versatile and exciting. It takes quality players and not big names.
He also mentioned that the player would be under 28 years-of-age and be able to connect the midfield to attack. Vako is, of course, a 24-year-old attacking midfielder and he certainly fits the bill of quality over name. Take a look at some of his 2016 highlights.
YouTube: Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili | Goals, Skills and Assists | Vitesse | 2015/16
He’s not as well known as Giovinco, Kaka, David Villa and other designated players, but he is the highly creative player the Earthquakes have been lacking for years. It’s not for a lack of trying, however. The Quakes brought in Matias Perez-Garcia to play the role, however, he was traded after playing just 47 matches while only scoring three goals. Here’s hoping Vako’s performance is significantly better than Perez-Garcia’s. Perhaps, Vako can get the club to the playoffs for the first time in four years.