Transfer News

Official: Union acquire Fernando Aristeguieta on loan from Nantes

The Philadelphia Union announced on Friday morning the acquisition of Venezuelan striker Fernando Aristeguieta on loan from Ligue 1 side Nantes.

“We’re very excited to add Fernando to our roster,” said Union technical director Chris Albright. “He adds a different quality up front and has experience at both the international and club levels. He’s a player with a very bright future and we look forward to him having an immediate impact as we approach the season.”

The loan, the length of which was not disclosed in the announcement, includes an option to buy.

Said Aristeguieta, “I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity to join Philadelphia Union. I know the team is already in Florida training, so I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates and to immediately start preparing for the season ahead.”

The Union announcement confirms a report at CBS Philly before the official announcement that the 22 year old joins the club as a Young Designated Player. MLS Roster Rules state “a Designated Player 21-23 years old counts as $200,000 against the club’s salary budget.”

Aristeguieta began his professional career at Caracas FC during the 2009-2010 season. Remaining with the team through 2013, he scored 31 goals in 71 appearances with the club.

Aristeguieta joined then Ligue 2 side Nantes in January of 2013, helping the team achieve promotion to France’s top flight in May of 2013.

The forward scored 9 goals over 42 appearances with Nantes. But with playing time dwindling, he was loaned to La Liga side Getafe at the end of 2014. However, the loan was cancelled on January 31, 2015 because his contract “exceeded the payroll of the Spanish club.”

His first league appearance of the 2014-2015 season for Nantes came in last week’s 2-0 loss to Bastia. Entering the game as a sub in the 60th minute, Aristeguieta was shown a rather dubious red card four minutes later.

Aristeguieta has scored 1 goal in 14 appearances with the Venezuelan national team. He made his national team debut on Feb. 2, 2010 in a 0-0 draw with Japan, partnering up top with former Union forward Alejandro Moreno, who was also his roommate.

(Click here to link to for Aristeguieta’s stats for both club and country. See a highlight reel of his time with Nantes below.)

Aristeguieta spent two summers in the US studying English at the Cushing Academy, a private school in Massachusetts.

News of the possibility of an Aristeguieta loan was first reported Ouest-France (Google translation). CBS Philly’s Kevin Kinkead tweeted confirmation soon after, saying “the Union are close to acquiring” the Venezuelan.

Reports from El Segmento (Google translation), Presse-Ocean (Google translation), translation), and (Google translation) soon followed.

On Wednesday morning, Kinkead reported at CBS Philly a deal had been reached to acquire the Venezuelan on loan with the option to buy. The option to buy was also reported by L’Equipe (Google translation).

Kinkead reported that the Union had been negotiating with Aristeguieta in December, with the forward showing “interest in moving to MLS.” That possibility was put on hold when he was loaned to Getafe. When that loan fell apart, the Union was able to resume negotiations.


  1. Zeitlin said on twitter that the loan was for a year. Glad that is the case.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Well alright!! Now we might be working with something. Between he and Casey, with Catic spelling at times, we should be very physical up top.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Whither CJ Sapong? I’d be much more inclined to think that Catic goes to Harrisburg for a year long loan. Such a loan clearly helped Marquez, as he seems to have made the big club. Bill Becher seemed to switch his style last season towards greater emphasis on technical skill and possession, but aside from Ribeiro they didn’t have a forward who fit that system. Catic would probably do so. The only negative to the move that I see is that with the new conference structure, Harrisburg will not play the western teams which last season had some of the better technical possession sides. But of course we have no idea what the USL sides for Toronto, Montreal and the Pink Heifers will be like. Harrisburg has brought back the two remaining members of last year’s back four, I think I remember, and the two DCMs for certain, as well as their captain/starting goal keeper.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Oh yeah, Sapong…LB??? Sapong/Shamus pairing might be worth a look, with Casey coming off the bench.
        My only objection to the Harrisburg loan, for Catic, is that he has a developed skill-set and Casey/Aris???forgetaboutit would be great players for him to study under.

      • Agreed OSC- he was a pro in Germany, but he might need an intermediate step to MLS coming from NAIA competition- at least for a little while in order to find his game. My concern is the HCI coach played Ribeiro at CB for the first half of the year (due to injury, yes, but still..). Let’s hope if he starts in Harrisburg it’s at forward only.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Zeitlin tweeted a correction: “And I tweeted wrong earlier when I said it was a one-year loan. The length is not stated but I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere.”

      • mumble mumble mumble…ah k

      • The Black Hand says:


      • I don’t think the length of the loan is too big of a deal. It’s the inclusion of the option to buy that matters. If he’s producing and happy the Union buy, if he stinks we might be happy he can go all the sooner with no further commitment. Don’t want another Valdes-like contract saga that drags on and on…and on…

      • The Black Hand says:

        We won’t have the cash to buy him with. Valdes’ loan takes away that option. We needed to sell him. If it’s a six-month (with option) and we can’t buy, he leaves just when we will need him most.
        No worries…I’m sure Sak has a plan. Sak always has a plan…

      • Edit: Thanks to Jim Presti, my post was unnecessary.

    • Confirmed by Phila Union that it is a 1 year loan

  2. Welcome to our new striker. Good move from the Club. Call it like I see it, and this is a good move from the club. Made us wait to be sure but credit where it is due.
    Look forward to seeing his style, positioning, off the ball movement, finishing- ect ect ect.
    A question though, as we are won to do – which is talk and write — can we just refer to him as:: A, Ari or Aris or Teggy, or my personal favorite, #9 moving forward? I thought Noguiera was a type-ful.

  3. RED CARD my aunt Rose! Not for nothing but I think referees need to be held accountable for poor decisions like this. Each and every yellow and red card violation needs to be reviewed by an off field official with the ability to overrule that decision. If the call is incorrect the call should be reversed. If the fouled player is shown to dive than the card shown goes to that player. If a referee makes a horrendous call as shown against Aristeguieta , the official should be suspended for 1 if not 2 games!

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Adding to your indignation, the referee cannot credibly claim there was prior bad behavior influencing his decision because our guy had only been on the pitch for four minutes! Had to be a call for reckless intent, but there was no meaningful contact. Only thing we cannot see is Fernando’s face, and we don’t know where the ref was relative to the face when the play occurred.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Did you happen to catch Markovic’s RC, in Liverpool’s final CL match? Complete shit…which they followed up on with a four-match ban. I get that referees are human, but there needs to be some type of way to keep their calls in check.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        In at least some professional leagues in some sports there is, but the information remains closely held so as not to provide ammunition for the next argument. I think the guy who called the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa, Howard Webb, Is now doing something like that in addition to devising training schemes for refs no that he’s no longer active on the pitch.

  4. There was also I quote on twitter where Curtin was saying we were gonna run a 4-2-4 with Nogs and Edu as dmids, Wenger and Letoux on the Wings and Aristeguieta and Maidana(?) strikers. Can someone explain how that will work?

    • The Black Hand says:

      Sapong (instead of Chaco), LeToux, Wenger playing slightly withdrawn with Beardnando up top??? That would leave us with no #10…we don’t really need one of those, right?

      • Curtin said Sapong was a Sub/Spot starter. So that isn’t happening. Besides leaving chaco off the field is suicide.

  5. I can’t help but think of this scene:

    Everyone’s REALLY excited about a striker we had never even heard of a month (week?) ago.

    I’m happy the team is trying to strengthen itself. And another young, tall finisher sounds good. But all the reactions to Seamus are based on Twitter feeds and grainy video.

    I still think this team will be better than most have assumed all offseason, as we as a fan base have practiced the very Philadelphia tradition of Hyper Reaction. Hopefully, Seamus/Ari/Nando will be the goal scorer this franchise has always lacked. But let’s see him play a few games before we lay palm fronds at his cleated feet.

    I have faith the Wenger, Le2, CJ, Casey, and Catic will score enough to keep us in games. Let’s hope this is the nudge we need to get over the hill.

    • palm fronds. good one. i’m just happy they filled the gap that was needing to be filled by a guy who seems to play well. I agree, the proof will play out before our eyes. In the meantime, i’m just happy. It’s cold outside.

  6. But, have our Vegas odds of winning the cup improved?

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      Now 49.997 to 1. This is a nice move, but the squad is still weaker than the team that ended last season.

      • I disagree based on what we know right now. We get a full season of MBolhi (minus international breaks of course), which should be an upgrade at GK. We get a full season of Wenger on the wing. The forward position appears to be a noticeable upgrade (Nando, Sapong, and even Catic as depth). I did really like Okugo, but now you get Edu into his preferred spot. Vitoria seems to be a nice addition and offsets Valdes leaving (maybe even an improvement over 2014 edition of Valdes). Depth is an issue, but no more of one that it was last year. It’s still Cruz, Carroll, Lahoud, Fabinho….but hopefully enhanced a bit with Sapong, Casey, Pfeffer, and Jimmy in the mix. Overall, it feels like a better roster than a year ago.

      • I am forever lamenting loss of Okugo- that said, they seem to have filled out starting 11 well.
        It was a wait and see deal and we waited and now we will see.
        We have some bench. We need a run of decent health as we are a bit lit in a spot or two but it is what it is. We need a healthy goalkeeper for the year that much I know. Rais. Stay fit.

      • The whole team is stronger, because as ScottE said, the starting XI is overall stronger than last year, and, perhaps more importantly, the guys we consider to be “weak depth” were really solid depth guys we had to over use, very often in starting roles. There is no reason Carroll or Fred should start a game at this point in their careers, but for the last 20-30 minutes of a game it works. As much as I hate to say it, Cruz is the same way, some late game energy. Also Pfeffer seems to be doing VERY well and I will take Catic and Casey backing up Nando and Sapong any day over last years forwards.

      • I will throw up in my mouth if Brian Carroll plays any minutes outside of US Open Cup minutes.

  7. I think in the final measure of the offseason here, this club is better than it was last year. We’ll have to see how these guys contribute when the season begins (only two weeks away!) but I’m feeling good. I think they get a somewhere between a B and a C+ for a better than average to good offseason. Nothing amazing, just good — incremental improvement.

    • Completely agree with this sentiment. As much I will miss Okugo, and I will tremendously, we had a log-jam at that spot. I am glad resources have been reallocated to balance the roster more.

      The real key is our depth, because the first 11 look good on paper at least. But if Pfeffer finally gets solid PT then that’s almost like an offseason pick-up and same could be said for Jimmy too if he plays.

    • Very true, Pete. Amobi was the big loss, but his loss may have been offset with Vitoria. The high-quality guys we brought in last year have had a full season to gel. Now we add two more apparently high-quality guys. The better they are, the easier it should (emphasis there) be to integrate.

      Now let’s hope they start the season on time.

  8. J in Section 125 says:

    Though this off season has been a little maddening at times with the U testing our patience, Curtain has delivered on his word in bringing in a striker and CDM. I personally think this team can at least contend for the playoffs if not more. We won’t know our depth is or how good Vitello and Nando are until the real matches start, but they seem to be sound pick ups and I continuously remind myself that this is a team that would have been in the playoffs had they been able to close out games that the were leading plus the core remains in tact. If they can fix some of last year’s problems and these players gel with the coach’s system then I think this could be a fun year at PPL

    • I’ve been iffy on the offseason going-ons with the Union, but am starting to come around. Very much looking forward to Mbohli getting 8-10 games to just play (and not worry about his pregnant wife, or getting his visa straight, or going back to Algeria), think he could be a nice upgrade from McMath. But as you say, it was the defense that cost them most last year. The offense was too streaky and limited, but they seem to have taken care of that with the additions. So I think they are still one player short on the back line. Doesn’t have to be a famous European name, but would like one more reliable defender, probably a CB (or a CDM if they start Edu at CB, but that looks very unlikely at this point).

    • What CDM did Curtin bring in?

      • Exactly. Addition by subtraction my friend.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Do you really need one of those? I mean, come on!
        Speaking of 6’s. Did anyone catch Pirlo’s 25 yarder against Atalanta? Beautiful shot…Juve is an impressive club.

      • Juventus are imperious. Even without Asamoah who is easily my favorite LB in the world.
        And yes Pirlo is majestic. I read his book and it was really cool- quite an interesting slant on the world and the football world. He is the very definition of sensational.

      • Juve is going down in the CL to Dortmund………bank it. BVB can’t win a domestic match this year…..but they are still beating everyone in the CL!


  10. OneManWolfpack says:

    Assuming Nando can play, which it appears he can, he will at (the very) least add depth up front. Something we absolutely needed, and had to have. Realistically, we now have a little depth in each area (up top, midfield, backline). I wouldn’t say by any stretch that we are in the upper echelon when it comes to depth, but I would say we are improved. Given our “poor man” mantra, I would say we aren’t doing too bad. But as always… we shall see…

  11. My question is does Casey start.
    Something tells me his style is going to be quite different than #9 or Sapong for that matter. Is Casey a starter for this club?
    Pretty wily first choice off the bench to hold up play with a lead or to score a veteran gol.
    Lastly and most importantly, for the first time in nearly 6 months, I am excited with this club. Not ready to remove Onion moniker yet, but truly ready for season to start. I really really really hope JC is a good game day manager- court is still out on that- but he will get his opportunity to prove it out.
    There is some quality ‘futbol’ pedigree here, with this final addition, it would seem and maybe we will be gifted with an emerging sophistication with this team as that, to me— the aesthetic, is just as important as wins and losses.

  12. hi i live in nantes and i support fcnantes ;aristigueta didn t play many times ; he have a good mentality , he s not very fast but he s a surface player , good with heat

    • with head forgiveness for my English ; c is a combative player , rather a surface day and head pretty good , he brought here to return to Ligue 1 Nantes ; it has not had the confidence of the coach , I hope that he will score lots of goals in his new club

    • Thank you, Olivier. We hope he scores a lot of goals for Philadelphia Union, too!

  13. As I stated in another thread, one of the things I like about this year’s team is that is a much bigger and more physical team. This is rarely a bad thing in MLS.

    This went from a small team that used to get pushed around, to a group that can punish people up front and in the back while playing good football.

    Even the goalkeeper is a much stronger physical presence.

    Given that big dollars could not be spent, this appears to be a practical and successful off season.

  14. Lucky Striker says:


    Wonder if he liked beisbol………

    I’m calling him Fernando Venezuela.

  15. I’m just glad Nando is here…finally. I really think/hope he can make a nice impact.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Me too. I know nothing of his game, save for what I saw in the reel and what I hear about his prowess is the air…but I do feel better knowing that Beardnando is with the club.

      Now lets just hope that this season kicks off on schedule!!

  16. Sorry guys, I would like to be exited about our new signing, but I’m super NON impressed with that highlight reel I just watched. Poacher at best. Seems slow as mentioned by our French fan. Doesn’t seem to be technically gifted. Again, another poacher. This sucks. Wanted a gifted forward that can work some magic every once in a while. Can’t wait til the day comes when we have the money to buy a couple more really exciting players to bring the team up a level or two. Oh well, at least my expectations are low, so I can only be pleasantly surprised. I will give him a chance. He deserves that.
    I know Brian Brown didn’t light it up for us last year, but you could see the kid had the ability to make some quality goals, not poacher goals. I would like that type of finisher here.
    Feels like a punch above our weight kind of pick up.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Big strong player, that is supposed to be excellent in the air. We could use that.
      Agree, regarding Brown. We could definitely use some of that, as well. He didn’t really get much of a look.

  17. First and foremost, I love this signing. However all of the drama with the way things get done bothers me to no end! This organization needs to stop playing shell games and hire a GM NOW! This is why word around the league is that the Union are the new Chivas USA. They are constantly at 6’s and 7’s and trying to be relevant but they do things all ass backwards. Albright and Curtin should not have GM responsibilities. A real GM should be over them. I sincerely hope this team gets sold to someone with the soccer IQ,business and financial wherewithal to run this franchise in a way that represents the fan base and market. Just barely getting by is not good enough for Philadelphia. If the Union don’t make it here because of their own dysfunction I have no doubt that MLS will have another team here ASAP. This market and fan base is that important to this league. If a replacement franchise is needed the vetting process will make sure a financially competitive owner will be brought in just because of the way the league is trending. All in all they’ve made some good pickups. I still think depth may be an issue because I question the logic of allowing certain players to take up roster spots and the way younger players are left to flounder. I’m hoping Curtin will learn from last years blunders. I still feel his dumb handling of Okugo privately and in public continues to be one of the major dysfunctional issue with the organization. The team looks very competitive on paper. They need quality depth and a GM NOW!!

    • Looking at the roster from two seasons ago, almost an upgrade in every position. Those starters have now moved to depth positions or are playing elsewhere. Still agree on finding a permanent GM though

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