DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Heavily sought after central defender Oguchi Onyewu has signed with legendary Italian team AC Milan on a free transfer, finally ending months of speculation about his destination
"He has signed a contract until June 2012," assistant communications director Giuseppe Sapienza told YA. "We will release more information in the next few days."
"We believe that this signing will help us greatly in our effort to win the Scudetto and the Champions League."
The hulking defender had seen his stock steadily rise over the last two years, leading Standard Liege to a pair of consecutive league titles as well as in an impressive run to the knockout rounds of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup.
While already linked to numerous teams throughout Europe's top leagues throughout the spring and summer, his strong play in central defense during June's Confederations Cup in helping to power the Stars and Stripes to the tournament's final increased his status.
The former Clemson Tiger's name recently became linked to traditional European powerhouses such as Real Madrid, Porto, Fenerbahce and Ajax.
By signing with the seven-time European champions, Onyewu strengthens a back line which saw the retirement of team legend Paolo Maldini at the end of the previous season. He's also guaranteed a spot in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage by way of the team's third-place finish in Serie A.
The team begins their pre-season training in mid-July, before embarking on an exhibition tour which includes the World Football Challenge in various US cities against Chelsea, league rivals Inter Milan and Club América, then followed by the Audi Cup in Munich against FC Bayern, Manchester United and Boca Juniors.
The Rossoneri will then begin their Serie A season in late-August as they attempt to break bitter rivals Inter Milan's string of four consecutive league championships.