Mikkel Desler is a Strategic Addition for Austin FC

Texan club signs Toulouse defender
Toulouse FC v SL Benfica: Knockout Round Play-offs Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24
Toulouse FC v SL Benfica: Knockout Round Play-offs Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24 / ATPImages/GettyImages

Austin FC surprises by announcing the signing of Mikkel Desler, a 29-year-old Danish defender with extensive experience in European leagues. Desler, who joins the Texan club after a successful spell with France's Toulouse FC, has penned a contract until 2027, with an option to extend until 2028. This bold move not only bolsters Austin FC's defense but also showcases the club's growing ambition to solidify its position in Major League Soccer (MLS).

Desler's track record speaks for itself. Starting his career at Odense Boldklub in Denmark, he quickly stood out and secured a transfer to Norway's FK Haugesund. However, it was at Toulouse FC where he truly made his mark, helping the club clinch the Ligue 2 title and the prestigious Coupe de France. With 9 goals and 14 assists in 314 professional appearances, Desler brings a rare combination of defensive solidity and offensive ability, a crucial attribute for any modern full-back.

Follow MLS Multiplex on X (Twitter).

Desler's arrival at Austin FC comes at a crucial time. Currently in their fourth season under coach Josh Wolff's leadership, the club is determined to return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after being Western Conference finalists in 2022. With 23 points accumulated (6 wins, 6 losses, and 5 draws), Austin FC sits sixth in the table, a position that, while competitive, requires reinforcements to secure qualification.

The decision to sign Desler until 2027, with an extension option, reflects a long-term strategy. Sporting director Rodolfo Borrell expressed optimism, stating that Desler, with his experience in high-level European competitions, will certainly strengthen the team's defensive options.

Beyond being a competent defender, Desler also brings a winning mentality, essential for a team with ambitions of winning titles. His arrival not only adds depth to the squad but also raises the internal competitive standard, something that can be a catalyst for improving the team's overall performance.

Desler's immediate impact will be observed after the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window on July 18, when he will be eligible to debut. Until then, his presence will surely bring a new level of competitiveness to training, especially for Jon Gallagher, who currently occupies the right-back position, and left-backs Guilherme Biro and Žan Kolmanič.

For a relatively young team like Austin FC, only in its fourth season, adding a player with Desler's experience and credentials is a shrewd strategic move. In addition to his on-field abilities, Desler brings a wealth of knowledge about what it takes to compete and win at high levels, something that can be invaluable for an evolving squad.

Desler's signing also highlights Austin FC's pragmatic approach in the transfer market. Instead of solely focusing on big names, the club is seeking players who can offer tangible long-term value. This strategy not only aids in building a cohesive and competitive team but also demonstrates a commitment to financial and sporting sustainability.

While many MLS teams opt to sign aging stars for marketing and immediate visibility, Austin FC is taking a more methodical and long-term approach. This focus on building a balanced and talented squad may well be the key to long-lasting success in the league.