Minnesota United bring back Paraguay's Luis Amarilla as Designated Player

Minnesota United FC has completed the transfer of Paraguayan forward Luis Amarilla from Argentine side Velez Sarsfield, the team announced on Saturday.

The announcement stated that Amarilla's Designated Player contract is for two years plus two club options. Sources with knowledge of the deal told ESPN that the Loons paid a transfer fee of $1.4 million with Velez receiving 20% if Minnesota United decides to transfer Amarilla at a later date. The player will join the Loons pending a physical and receipt of his P1 Visa and ITC.

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Amarilla, 26, has spent the last three years on loan from Velez, including a previous stint with the Loons in 2020. During that time, Amarilla scored three goals with one assist in 10 appearances, though he struggled with an ankle injury during that campaign.

"We're delighted to welcome him back. He still owes us 23 goals, as he promised us 25 when he arrived here in 2020," said MNUFC manager Adrian Heath. "We felt then he would be a consistent goal scorer in the league and we feel the same again. He's had another really productive year [in Quito] and we felt, when the opportunity came, it was too good to turn down.

"There is a sense of unfinished business and he's expressed a real desire to come back. With Luis, there is some familiarity that you don't always get with international players. We know him and we know what type of character we're getting on and off the field. Competition for places will be fierce, but we feel as though he'll be big plus for us this year."

Amarilla is coming off a season on loan with Ecuadoran side LDU Quito, in which he scored 15 goals in 31 league and Cup appearances. Among the players he'll contend with for playing time are Adrien Hunou and another returnee, Abu Danladi, as well as U22 Initiative signing Bongokuhle Hiongwane.

"It's a return that I wanted. I wanted to come back. I wanted to return. Even more so, it's a city that I think is fantastic," said forward Luis Amarilla. "I'm very happy and with all the desire to get going and play. For me, [2020] was not the season that I wanted, because of my injury. But today, I'm here with the hope and ambition to do things the right way, do things differently. Hopefully, it's a great year." Amarilla began his career in his home country with Club Libertad. While he failed to score in 13 appearances over four seasons, he spent part of that time on loan with Club 3 de Febrero and Sol de America. He moved to Velez in 2017, but it was a loan spell in 2019 with Ecuadoran side Universidad Católica where he made a name for himself, scoring 20 goals in 26 league and cup appearances.

At international level, Amarilla has made four appearances for Paraguay, making his debut in 2021.