D.C. United today officially announced the rumored signing of Finnish international Markus Halsti. Halsti can play as a center back or as a full back, but has recently been playing as a defensive midfielder. He seems likely to come in and take over for Davy Arnaud for the starting spot alongside Perry Kitchen, and provides the team with flexibility in their substitution patterns mid-game. If he is successful in doing so, it will not only improve the quality on the field but also improve the quality of United's bench; a savvy veteran like Arnaud would be invaluable off the bench or as a spot starter.
Hopefully this marks a new era of D.C. United international signings, picking established veterans from similar leagues rather than unproven players from South America. Halsti was in the Swedish Best XI this past year, has played in the Uefa Champions League, and plays for Finland's national team.
Here is what general manager Dave Kasper had to say about Halsti:
"We are pleased to be adding a player with solid European playing experience at the Club, Champions League, and National Team levels. Markus can play as both a central midfielder and central defender, and this was quite attractive to us. He is a tough competitor and another very good character piece for our club. We look forward to having him join our family."