A few days after word got out about negotiations, the Union got a deal done Friday to sign Norwegian centerback Jakob Glesnes, a 25-year-old from Norwegian first division club Strømsgodset.
Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement that he likes Glesnes’ “strong aerial presence and front-foot defense. Coming from a club with a similar style of play, Jakob will be able to easily transition into our system, making him a valuable asset to our defense and club.”
Glesnes has spent his entire professional career in Norway, starting in the second division then moving up to the top flight in 2016. Strømsgodset bought him from his previous club, Sarpsborg, that year for just under $400,000.
Back in 2016, Glesnes played a few times for Norway’s under-21 national team. He got a senior-level call-up last October, but didn’t make the field.
Strømsgodset first announced on Tuesday that they were talking to the Union, and that the deal was almost done.
The Union paid a transfer fee to acquire Glesnes, but didn’t say how much. They did say he’s a Targeted Allocation Money signing, which means - at least under the current CBA, which expires Feb. 7 - his salary will be at least $550,000.
If the TAM classification goes away in the new CBA, which the MLS Players Association would like, Glesnes’ salary will stay the same but the impact on the Union’s salary cap will change.
Expect Glesnes to slot in at No. 3 on the Union’s centerback depth chart, behind starters Jack Elliott and Mark McKenzie. Glesnes will probably start when McKenzie is out of town with the U.S. Olympic team, which will happen quite a bit.
Concacaf's qualifying tournament runs from March 20 to April 1, which will take McKenzie out of at least the March 22 home game vs. D.C. and the March 28 road game vs. Portland.
The Olympic men’s soccer tournament runs from July 23-Aug. 8, and McKenzie is a prime candidate to make the final team if the U.S. men end their 12-year Olympic qualifying drought and go to Tokyo. Figure on McKenzie missing four Union games in that stretch: July 18 vs. New England, July 25 at Orlando, Aug. 1 vs. Miami and Aug. 8 at New York City FC.