The New England Revolution's offseason activity just heated up. The club announced today that they've completed the signing of Malian defender/midfielder Kalifa Cisse, most recently of Bristol City in the English Championship. Cisse, 28, has experience in the English Premier League and at the international level with Mali.
"We're very pleased to add a player of Kalifa's stature and experience, having played in the top divisions in Portugal and England," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. "We were fortunate to have him in for a training period a few weeks ago, and not only did his quality show as a player, but we had the opportunity to see his interaction with our players and coaches. We believe he has the ability to make a significant impact on our club, both on and off the field, in 2013."
Cisse made his club debut in Portugal in 2005 before heading to Reading in the English Premier League in 2007. After three years there (two in the Championship after Reading's relegation following the 2007-08 season), he moved to Bristol City, where he remained until the end of last season.
"Once I decided to leave Bristol City it was important to take my time and make sure the next move was the right one," Cisse said. "A number of European clubs were interested, but as soon as I met the Revolution coaches, the team and the staff, I could see everyone has a winning mentality. I felt everyone was going in the same direction, so it was an easy decision for me to sign here. I've come to New England to make an impact and help the team win titles."
The club also officially announced that four players have been placed on waivers ahead of today's Waiver Draft. Blake Brettschneider, Florian Lechner, Alec Purdie, and Michael Roach will all become available to the league's other 18 clubs today. For the most part, the moves raise few eyebrows, as the four of them collectively contributed two goals and two assists in league play. Brettschneider made many appearances but was largely unproductive, while Lechner struggled to see the field due to injury. Purdie and Roach were mostly non-factors in the first team, with the latter failing to make a single regular-season appearance.
Cisse is more than capable of playing center-back, but according to a tweet from Jeff Lemieux, club GM Michael Burns has targeted him more for his capabilities as a central midfielder. Cisse is a tough, physical, ball-winning sort of midfielder; like a Clyde Simms with more bite but a little less smoothness, really.
Coupled with the recent signing of former Revolution standout Andy Dorman, this appears to create a glut of midfielder players in Foxboro. Releasing Roach and Purdie alleviates some of the concern, but nevertheless, the current roster features upwards of eleven midfielders, and that's not including both Diego Fagundez and Chris Tierney who can play midfield in addition to their normal duties as a forward and defender, respectively. The positive spin on that, however, is that this is an incredibly deep midfield if it stays as-is, and isn't really overbalanced in one direction or another, especially with Cisse's arrival.
What do you think? Good move? Bad move? Sad to see anyone go? Let us know in the comments!