The long discussed arrival of striker David Arshakyan is finally official as the Chicago Fire announced on their official site that the Armenian has signed a two-year contract with options for a third and fourth year.
Let’s get the big fact out of the way. Arshakyan played in Lithuania. This means I, and most soccer fans, have not seen a second of him actually playing. It is very similar to the time the Fire signed Khlay Thiam, which as you may recall, was not long ago.
Thiam has been serviceable and judging by what Arshakyan has done in his young career, it appears he could have also be serviceable from the get go and grow into a pretty solid player.
Arshakyan has had a tremendous, albeit short, career with FK Trakai in the Lithuanian top flight. In 2015, Arshakyan scored 25 goals in 34 games while he has had a bright start to 2016 scoring nine goals in 18 matches. I would gladly take a goal every other game.
2016 also saw Arshakyan make his debut with the Armenian national team as they took on Denmark in the Euro U-21 Championship qualifiers.
At 6’4”, 190, Arshakyan immediately becomes the target striker the team has been lacking and will be a physical handful even for the large MLS center backs. Whether his hold up play results in goals at this level is uncertain. But I would be shocked if he can’t knock down some long balls and make turns with his back to goal just because of his size.
It’s impossible to gauge how foreign players adapt to the league. There are always so many variables involved. But I will say Nelson Rodriguez has put together a good track record of landing some solid imports including Rodrigo Ramos, Johan Kappelhof and Michael de Leeuw, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on the 21-year-old.
Here is what Rodriguez had to say:
“We were impressed by his winning attitude and ability to score goals in a variety of different ways ... he has a very good soccer IQ, imagination and obvious size.”
WIth the loss of Gilberto and Kennedy Igboananike, Arshakyan should have plenty of opportunities for goals. Let’s hope he finds them.
Welcome to the Fire Arshakyan! Let us know if the meaning of your name is some exotic animal. We like that stuff.