By Tyler Trent
Brecht Dejaegere versus Inter Miami (Photo courtesy of Cisco's Art)
The highly anticipated secondary transfer window has come and gone, as many fans of Charlotte FC expected heavy reinforcements to right the ship this season. Ultimately, Charlotte FC added three players – Scott Arfield, Brecht Dejaegere, and Jere Uronen. Three players departed, with Nuno Santos returning to Portugal, Andre Shinyashiki beginning a new journey in Azerbaijan, and Joseph Mora being waived after the addition of Uronen. Goalkeeper Chituru Odunze was also signed to a deal with Crown Legacy FC which could prove crucial to the first team one day.
Scott Arfield – B-
Arfield has already impacted the team in Leagues Cup play, scoring a goal against Necaxa to help Charlotte FC win their group. Arfield has proven himself a smooth passer with the ball who will need little time to adjust to MLS. At 34 years old, this is a signing that Charlotte is expecting an immediate impact from to turn the season around. Arfield's experience with Rangers and Burnley will be a great asset in a team that has struggled with mentality at times throughout the season. So far, his performances have been a mixed bag, with flashes of bright build-up play and finishing.
Brecht Dejaegere – B+
Dejaegere arrived in Charlotte and made his debut against the Houston Dynamo. After spending the previous three seasons in Toulouse, where he was club captain, won Ligue 2 to win promotion, and most recently won the Coupe de France, he now has a new challenge in Charlotte. At 32 years old, Dejaegere likely still has several strong years left in his career. Given the #10 shirt, Dejaegere is expected to be a creative outlet with progressive passing to help connect the team in the attack. Dejaegere also showed he's not afraid to take players on 1v1 with his dribbling in the Leagues Cup matches.
Jere Uronen – A-
Left back has been discussed for a long time. With multiple players tasked with filling the gap, including Mora, Brandt Bronico, Harrison Afful, and Nathan Byrne, Jere Uronen will be the next on the list. A natural left-back that has represented his country of Finland 61 times and competed in Ligue 1 in France and, most recently, the German Bundesliga, Uronen seems like he will be the answer to the team’s struggles in the position. Uronen is expected to be available when MLS play resumes.
Chituru Odunze – C
This signing is hard to apply a grade to as Odunze will be signed to Crown Legacy. Like the other players on Crown Legacy, Odunze is seen as a prospect, and we don’t know how long-term that is. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, coming from the Leicester City youth system, and a massive 6-foot-7 goalkeeper, Odunze has several characteristics that will interest Charlotte FC supporters.
Departures – A
Getting rid of the dead cap weight of Santos and Shinyashiki was of the utmost importance in this transfer window. In addition, Santos’ departure freed up an international roster spot needed to acquire an incoming transfer. Additionally, Mora was waived. While Mora provided a veteran presence in the locker room, he didn’t have many chances to shine on the pitch this year.
The bottom line
Ultimately, it appears that Charlotte FC had a successful secondary transfer window on paper. While the team didn’t sign a “star player,” they did address two of the most significant issues with the squad – getting rid of Santos and Shinyashiki and getting an experienced, athletic left back.
It’s easy for fans to call this transfer window a failure when comparing it to teams like Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake, who buffed their roster significantly. However, these moves should put Charlotte in a considerably better position to improve as the season concludes. With playoffs still in sight but the season dwindling, the signings' impact will be evident in the coming weeks.