New York City FC sign ex-Bilbao defender Iraola
New York City FC have completed the signing of former Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola on a free transfer.
Iraola, 32, left Bilbao at the end of the La Liga campaign after making 510 appearances in 12 seasons with the club. The former Spain fullback opted to leave Spain behind completely after leaving the San Mames and continue his career with the MLS expansion side.
“I have only played for one club throughout my whole career and I knew after leaving Bilbao my first choice was always to play in the U.S. and in New York,” Iraola said in a statement released by the club. “It’s a very exciting opportunity for me to join New York City FC in our inaugural season. This is a team with huge potential, passionate supporters, and I really wanted to be part of it."
Iraola will join his new teammates pending the approval of a P-1 work visa. He is ineligible to feature in the first team until the MLS secondary transfer window opens on July 8.
Once Iraola is cleared to feature, he is expected to start at right back. NYCFC coach Jason Kreis has relied on R.J. Allen -- signed after a year out of the game -- and Jeb Brovsky to shoulder most of the load. The addition of Iraola complements that group with an established, consistent figure capable of starting regularly and provides Kreis with considerable depth as NYCFC embarks on the second half of the campaign.
“I think it’s fantastic to be able to add a player with that much experience and quality at a critical time of the season,” Kreis said in a statement. “We are adding a versatile player like Andoni who is comfortable playing in a number of different positions within the team. We are adding a great professional and a very experienced player.”
Kreis reinforced his ranks even further on Wednesday when NYCFC landed Manchester City academy defender Jose Angel Tasende for the remainder of the 2015 season. Spain youth international Tasende, 18, is expected to provide depth at the back as he searches for his first professional appearance. Tasende earned a place on the bench for Manchester City's 4-1 victory at Sunderland in December.