Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rapids Sign Stefan Aigner

Colorado announced the signing of German midfielder Stefan Aigner today (pending medical and P-1 visa).  This had been rumored since the weekend.  Aigner is 29 years old and has signed through the 2020 season.  He is similar to Gashi in that his preferred role is a winger but he can also play striker (though Ainger prefers the right while Gashi prefers the left).  He comes to Colorado from Bundesliga 2 side 1860 Munich.  From 2012 to 2016 he played for Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, scoring 22 times in 95 appearances.  He only had 3 goals in 24 appearances for Munich last year but 1860 was a chaotic mess as their majority owner and the club administration spent more time fighting than improving the team.  They were relegated to the 3rd division at the end of the season but the owner refused to pay the fees to play in that division so they've been relegated a second time and will play in the 4th division regional league this year.

I don't see Aigner as a difference maker based on his background, but I don't hate the signing either.  He's already in Colorado but it will take a couple of weeks before I expect to see any significant minutes from him.  I'm guessing he might suit up but only get a token appearance in San Jose on Saturday at best, he'll come off then bench in our next home game against Vancouver, and then maybe he'll be ready to start in Dallas on the 12th, though I wouldn't be shocked if its not until the home game against Dc on the 19th that he gets his first start.  My hope is (assuming everyone is healthy) we would see a lineup something like this:

Hairston - Ford - Sjoberg - Da Fonte/Miller
Azira - Boateng
Badji                 Aigner

Freeing up Gashi to play as a withdrawn striker under Doyle will hopefully generate more offense and more targets to feed off of Aigner's service.  In theory Aigner could be the withdrawn forward and Gashi the winger as well.

I can see what the Rapids strategy/goals are this window with this move and the rumor that they're in the conversations around Kamara being traded.  An addition to the midfield and a striker would certainly increase the offense.  I'd like to see Colorado land a MLS quality starting striker to build around.  That would allow both Gashi and Aigner to play as wingers and Badji to be a solid sub off the bench going forward.  If that gets done we're really only an outside back away from where I hoped we'd be at the end of the window.

There will be at least one additional move coming as Aigner does need an international slot and we don't have one open.  That means either trading for a slot, trading away an international, or cutting/loaning somebody.

1 comment:

Mark Weatherley said...

Doesn't be have to return to Germany to get his visa from the US embassy? This always seems to take weeks.

As many have already stated, he most likely won't make a huge impact this season or if he does it will be too late to get the Rapids into a playoff spot. So were talking about building for the 2018 season.

As for Kamara, between his age and attitude (he doesn't seem to stay in anyone place for long) he would be a short term solution at best.