Giacomo Vrioni was not short of options this summer.
A six-time senior international for Albania with caps for Italy at youth level, the 23-year-old has scored goals across the Italian lower leagues and in the Austrian Bundesliga while on from Juventus – where he managed two senior appearances.
So, why Major League Soccer? And why, specifically, the New England Revolution?
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“I had a lot of teams [try to sign me] at the end of the season, but I had a call with the coach and a call with a lot of people here and I feel comfortable,” Vrioni told reporters during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
“I saw that they believe a lot in me, and this for the player is very important, and this is why I said directly yes to come here because I saw that the coach believes a lot in me and also all of the team, all of the staff.”
While Vrioni had to think carefully on his decision, the Revs were clear in their thinking.
The reigning Supporters’ Shield champions had just lost Polish striker Adam Buksa to Ligue 1 side Lens after scoring 35 goals for the club in 73 appearances across all competitions – including seven in 10 MLS matches to start 2022.
“He had an outstanding goal-scoring record this year in the Austrian league and we did make note of the fact that a number of players that have come from that league in MLS have done well,” Revs head coach Bruce Arena said.
Vrioni not only fills Buksa’s open DP spot, but also his profile in terms of being a classic No.9: tall, physical, and clinical.
Now, it’s all about getting his head down to make sure he replicates Buksa’s goalscoring – something he knows he’s capable of after a 19-goal season with WSG Tirol during the 2021/22 Austrian Bundesliga season.
“Now that I’m here, I will concentrate to play here, to do all the things that my coach is asking me, and I will try for sure to help the team and to score goals because this is my goal,” Vrioni said.
“For the future, I don’t know now. I’m concentrating on the present. This is an amazing team, an amazing family, so I will give everything here.”