Columbus Crew target Milos Degenek is hoping to use his move Stateside as a pre-World Cup career boost.
The Australia international center-back recently became a free agent after his contract with Serbian side Red Star Belgrade expired.
During his time at Rajko Miti? Stadium, Degenek won three league titles and a Serbian Cup and gained vast experience playing in the Champions League and Europa League.
Reports last week suggested Degenek – capped 33 times for his country at senior level – was on his way to Ohio to join the Crew for the 2022 MLS season, with the announcement of his transfer expected in the coming days.
For Degenek, it’s a move made with the World Cup in mind later this year. The Socceroos are currently third in their qualifying group, only enough to send them into a playoff with the top two going through automatically.
“Because the World Cup is on this year, I want give myself the best possible chance to stay fit, and obviously to prolong my career as well,” he said. “To go somewhere where it’s a fit and healthy environment.
“Where I’ve got the best support around me to give me the best possible chance to go to the World Cup and the best possible chance to play well for our country. That probably helped me a bit decide on where I’m going to play in the future.”
Degenek’s arrival in Columbus would be welcomed by a Crew outfit that struggled for defensive consistency in 2021, missing out on the MLS Cup Playoffs despite their status as defending champions.
The 6’1 defender would join Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams and the recently signed Jalil Anibaba among Caleb Porter’s center-back options.
The Crew open their 2022 season at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps on February 26.