NYCFC has gotten rather busy over the last few weeks and the trend continued this week as the club announced the signing of French defender Frédéric Brillant. The 30 year old center back came over as a free transfer from Belgian club KV Oostende. The club reports that Targeted Allocation Money was used in the purchase of the player, but as per MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. This signing also uses the club's tenth and presumably final international spot, barring another trade or moving a player currently on the roster.
Brillant is a 6'2" center back who has played the last three seasons in the Belgian first division, making 79 club appearances. He currently stands as the tallest defender on the NYCFC roster. With the Brillant signing, the club has now added 4 new players to help bolster the backline.
Brillant had this say about signing with the club, as reported on nycfc.com :
"This is a new challenge in my career and a great opportunity. It’s also a new adventure for my family. I’m very excited to wear the colors of New York City FC and play in front of the fans at Yankee Stadium.
"It will be an honor for me to be coached by Patrick Vieira, he is a role model in France for what he’s achieved in his career and is known throughout the game for his leadership."
Claudio Reyna, NYCFC Sporting Director, had this to say about Brillant:
"Frédéric will bring leadership and experience to our defense. He was eager to join us and that’s one thing we always look for when recruiting a player. It’s important to us that players are passionate about playing for this club. With his strength and his ability to anticipate danger, he could be a real asset to the team."
Head coach Patrick Vieira welcomes the experience Frédéric Brillant can bring to the team.
"To have more experience in the back will give the Club different options", said Vieira. "We’ve brought in a number of young players recently so to add some experience is important. Frédéric is very composed with the ball at his feet and has a great understanding of the game."
How the club will use Brillant still remains to be seen. However, considering Targeted Allocation Money was used to sign him, and given Vieira's comments about bringing experience and composure to the backline, I think it's safe to assume we will see Brillant as a regular in the starting XI this upcoming season. Something that plagued the club last year was it's inability to move the ball or pass out of the back. It led to some awful turnovers that left the team exposed to conceding quick goals, even despite Josh Saunders' valiant efforts at times. A center back who's comfortable with the ball at his feet would add a welcomed dimension to the team this season.
How do you like this signing? What are your thoughts on the defensive additions the club has made this winter?
Please let us know in the comments!