Speculation was rampant after the New England Revolution announced they had signed a new Designated Player to a pre-contract two weeks ago. Now, that speculation ends as the club has revealed Cote d'Ivoire midfielder Xavier Kouassi to be the player in question. Kouassi will finish out the remainder of the 2015-2016 season with FC Sion before joining the Revs after June 30th, when his contract with the Swiss club expires.
"As captain and leader of his current Club we feel we've acquired a player in Xavier who is in the prime of his career," said Jay Heaps. "We look forward to his arrival."
Kouassi is in his third season with FC Sion, serving as club captain in the last two seasons. Though his stats are not gaudy - just four assists in his three seasons there, in 82 appearances across all competitions - he has been a constant and steady presence in the midfield, playing 7,062 minutes.
Those minutes include captaining FC Sion this season through one of their best European performances in the club's 106-year history, successfully navigating the Group Stage and reaching the Round of 32. Kouassi also lifted the Swiss Cup in 2015 in an underdog victory against FC Basel.
In addition to Sion, Kouassi played four seasons with Servette FC in Switzerland, scoring two goals and four assists in 86 appearances. Servette acquired him from Sewe Sport de San-Pedro in the Ivory Coast. Kouassi has played internationally for Les Elephants, receiving his first and only cap in a 2011 friendly against Israel.
Per club and team policy, details of the transaction were not disclosed. However, given Kouassi's contract status with FC Sion, it seems likely that a transfer fee is not involved, and Kouassi was acquired on a free transfer.
The Revolution also acquired Jose Goncalves from FC Sion back in 2013, but it would appear from matching up dates that the two never played together, as Goncalves had already joined the Revs on loan when Kouassi arrived.