D.C. United‘s quest for roster help amid a terrible season reached the first of what the MLS club hopes is multiple deals with the acquisition Friday of Bruno Miranda, a 19-year-old Bolivian attacker with brief top-flight pro experience.
He will join United on loan from Universidad de Chile through the 2018 season. D.C. will have the option to purchase his contract outright.
Miranda has already begun training with United, but with his work permit and international transfer certificate pending, he is not eligible to play Saturday against league-leading Toronto FC at RFK Stadium.
Miranda impressed at South America’s under-20 championship early this year and received call-ups to the senior national team for four 2018 World Cup qualifiers. In March, he entered a qualifier against 2014 finalist Argentina.
Miranda’s international debut came in May 2016 during a friendly against the United States in Kansas City, Kan. He comes from the same home town (Santa Cruz) and youth academy (Tahuchi) as United’s most famous international players, former attackers Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno.
Meantime, a source familiar with United’s plans said the team is seriously chasing Zoltan Stieber, a Hungarian national team midfielder who has played in the German leagues since 2009. The club declined comment.
United is willing to pay a multimillion-dollar transfer fee to Kaiserslautern, a second-flight club with whom he started 16 league matches and scored once, and guarantee a salary of at least $1 million through the 2018 season. Stieber would become United’s highest-paid player.
Bild, the German tabloid, was first to report United’s interest in Stieber. He’s expected to visit Washington this weekend.
United, which has a league-worst 5-14-3 record and six consecutive defeats, continues to pursue defensive help before MLS’s trade and transfer window closes Wednesday.
Chilean defensive midfielder Gary Medel, a two-time World Cup player from Inter Milan, is atop the wish list but likely too expensive for United’s tastes. D.C. has also had discussions with former Dutch World Cup midfielder Nigel De Jong, but the likelihood of a deal, multiple sources said, are low.
Stieber, who turns 29 in October, can play centrally and on the wings. He has served in the Bundesliga for Hamburg, Greuther Fuerth and Mainz and in the second tier with Kaiserslautern, Nurnburg, Greuther Fuerth, Aachen and Koblenz.
His most productive seasons were in 2010-11 with Aachen (10 goals) and 2013-14 with Greuther Fuerth in the second tier (nine goals).
On the international stage, Stieber has scored three times in 20 appearances for Hungary and has figured in the 2018 World Cup qualifying effort with four matches and two starts. In group play, Hungary is a distant third behind Switzerland and Portugal.
Stieber appeared in three 2016 European Championship matches in France, scoring against Austria.
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