Austin FC adds a goal scoring threat in Argentinian midfielder Sebastián Driussi
Sebastián Driussi became the latest addition to Major League Soccer expansion team Austin FC on Thursday morning when the club announced the signing of the Argentinian attacking midfielder to a multiyear deal at a press conference at the Fairmont Austin.
Driussi is Austin FC's third designated player, the league limit, joining Tomás Pochettino and Cecilio Domínguez.
The 25-year-old Driussi's last club was Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Russian Premier League, where he had scored 21 goals in 95 appearances since arriving in 2017. He made his professional debut in 2013 for River Plate in the Argentine Primera Division.
He can also play on the wing in a 4-3-3 or centrally as a second striker.
"This is a wonderful challenge for my career, and I can't wait for all of this to get started,” Driussi said through a translator at the press conference. “This is a club that has been growing, and it is a very interesting project for me. It really grabbed my attention. I want to achieve important things while I'm here.”
Driussi is the second offensive addition for Austin FC during the summer transfer window. The club added Senegalese striker Moussa Djitté earlier in July, but the 21-year-old center forward has not arrived in Austin to begin training because his immigration paperwork is still being ironed out. Austin FC is tied for an MLS-low 10 goals this season.
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Druissi is a more ready-made option to assist Austin FC in scoring goals, whether he creates them or scores himself. Transfermarkt.com lists his current value at $8.25 million. Zenit signed him for $15 million from River Plate in 2017. Salary terms and the signing fee for Austin FC were not released by the club.
The Argentine was born in Buenos Aires in 1996. He holds citizenship in Argentina and Spain, playing for the U-17 and U-20 teams in his youth. He scored seven goals for the U-17 side in 15 appearances. That form continued as a professional for River Plate, where he scored 21 goals in 67 appearances from 2013 to his departure in the summer of 2017.
“Sebastián is a phenomenal and versatile player who will elevate our attack and make us more dangerous going forward,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said in a statement. “We've had our eye on him for quite some time. We are confident that Sebastián’s international experience and pedigree will raise the level of our entire group and help us compete for a playoff spot this season.”
Driussi experienced success to start his career in Russia when he scored 16 goals over his first two seasons, including 11 in 27 appearances during the 2018-19 campaign. His production tapered off in his final two seasons for Zenit. He scored four goals in 25 appearances in 2019-20 and then just once in 16 appearances last season.
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Austin FC needs the help offensively. Injuries to center forwards Danny Hoesen and Aaron Schoenfeld forced left winger Domínguez into the role of striker for the past two months. The additions of Driussi and Djitté should allow Domínguez to return to his more natural position. He’s scored only once since moving inside to striker.
“This isn't a player who will just help us this month or this season, but for years down the road,” Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna said at the press conference Thursday. “Sebastián comes with an incredible résumé. He's a competitor and a great teammate. At his age, we're really excited to have him.”
El Tree sits in 13th place in the Western Conference. It's 13 points through 14 matches are the lowest in the conference and third-lowest in MLS. Driussi must quarantine under league COVID-19 protocols before joining team training. Reyna said the club hopes Driussi debuts against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday or at FC Dallas on Aug. 7.