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MLS: Orlando City sign Luis Muriel from Atalanta

Orlando City have completed a deal to sign Colombia forward Luis Muriel from Atalanta.

Muriel emerged as one of Serie A’s deadliest strikers after joining Atalanta from Sevilla in an €18million deal in 2019, scoring 59 goals in his first three seasons with La Dea.

However, he only found the back of the net three times in 2022-23 before losing his place in Gian Piero Gasperini’s lineup this season, only making five starts across all competitions.

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Muriel initially moved to Europe to join Udinese as a 19-year-old in 2010, but he will now return to the Americas to ply his trade in Major League Soccer, joining Orlando as a designated player.

In a statement posted on the club’s website after the $1m deal was confirmed, Orlando general manager Luiz Muzzi said: “We are very excited to welcome Luis to Orlando.

“Whenever he’s on the field, he’s a player that is known to always be a threat to score, will force defences to account for him at all times, and has the ability to combine with and make his team-mates better.

“His accolades and statistics over his career thus far speak for themselves. He’s someone that we feel will help us take the next step in our pursuit to win trophies, not only this season but in the future.”

Orlando finished second in the overall MLS standings last year, trailing Supporters’ Shield winners FC Cincinnati by six points, but they were subsequently beaten by eventual MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Oscar Pareja’s team begin their 2024 season at home to CF Montreal on February 24, and they will be among the favourites to enjoy a deep playoff run after making the postseason in four straight campaigns.

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