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Aron Jóhannsson signs with Lech Poznań

The national team striker moves to Poland.

Germany v USA - International Friendly Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Lech Poznań announced the signing of Aron Jóhannsson as a free agent. Following routine medical tests, the striker joined the Polish Ekstraklasa club on a one-year deal with an option clause for an additional 18 months through June of 2023. The 30-year-old recently departed Hammarby IF after two seasons and was reportedly “exploring options in MLS and the Bundesliga.”

“Aron is a player who will definitely give us more opportunities in the offensive,” manager Dariusz Żuraw told the club’s official website. “He is very mobile, he can act both in attack as an advanced attacker and the second, slightly withdrawn attacker. His presence will give me, for example, the option to play with two strikers, because in such a setup I feel very comfortable. Sure, in previous clubs he also played on the wing, but I rather consider him in front of the opponent’s goal, i.e. as a forward.”

Jóhannsson’s well-known health issues have defined his career, including adductor, hip, knee, and ankle injuries that derailed his time at Werder Bremen. The once-prolific striker regained some of his form with Hammarby in the Allsvenskan, scoring 15 goals in 27 appearances last season. He left Sweden in December following a “joint decision to not exercise” his contract extension.

The Alabama native joins a club struggling for consistency after selling several talented players in the summer. Lech Poznań is currently in 10th place with 19 points from 16 matches, five points above relegation. The club has two productive younger strikers in Mikael Ishak and Filip Szymczak, but the manager’s comments indicate Jóhannsson will be given a chance to prove himself. The seven-time Ekstraklasa champions were eliminated from the Europa League but are still alive in the Polish Cup, which offers increased opportunities for playing time.

Jóhannsson has earned 19 caps with the United States Men’s National Team since switching from Iceland in August of 2013, playing at the 2014 World Cup. His last appearance was in 2015 and most recent roster inclusion in 2018, the latter derailed by an injury. In January, manager Gregg Berhalter described the player as “worthy of a call-up, but hasn’t had the chance to bring him in yet.” The two previously met in Germany to discuss tactics and mixing veterans with youth.

The move to the Ekstraklasa is a step below the Bundesliga, but consistent playing time and staying healthy is a priority. With the 2022 World Cup less than two years away, the national team has yet to identify a de facto first-choice striker or establish a vague depth chart. Perhaps there is still a remaining chapter or two in Jóhannsson’s international career. Berhalter’s actions and comments indicate his progress in Poland should be monitored.

Is this a good move for Aron Jóhannsson? Let us know in the comment section.