Orlando City SC has signed French-born center back Lamine Sané from Bundesliga side SV Werder Bremen, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and ITC. News of the signing was first published by Jordan Culver and Alicia DelGallo of ProSoccerUSA.com.
“Lamine will significantly strengthen our back line,” Orlando City GM Niki Budalic said in a club press release. “He brings tremendous experience at the highest levels of European football and we believe he will fit right in with what we’re trying to build in Orlando.”
Sané is a center back who will most likely overtake Jose Aja and Amro Tarek for a starting spot, and can also play as a holding midfielder. At 6-foot-3, he could be a powerful force on the back line, especially with his history.
The 30-year-old spent the majority of his career playing in France. From 2003 to 2008, Sané had three different stints with US Lormont before finally landing a contract with FC Girondins de Bordeaux. He played for seven years in France’s Ligue 1 before moving on a free transfer to the German side Werder Bremen.
Since 2009, Sané has made 245 appearances for Bordeaux and Werder Bremen, of which only 12 were as a substitute. The Frenchman found the back of the net 12 times in that span, eight of which were from headers. Sané also has experience at the highest level, making five Champions League appearances, 15 in the Europa League, and 12 international appearances for Senegal.
This year has been up-and-down for the center back. Last month, Werder Bremen Sports Director Frank Baumann suspended Sané indefinitely for missing training. Sané apparently had the flu, but his two days of missed training were not excused.
“Lamine did not behave as professionally as we would expect from a Bundesliga player, so we told him clearly and signalled that he will not be part of the Bundesliga squad until further notice,” Baumann said. “In our situation and before such an important game, I have no understanding that a player puts his individual interests above the success of the team.“
Prior to that, Sané started 27 games last season and nine games this year in Bundesliga play. Reports say that the defender was upset that he was not getting enough playing time and tried to force a move away so that he can get enough minutes to make the Senegal World Cup roster.
Orlando was not the only team looking into the Senegal international. There were teams in France and the Premier League that were interested in Sané, making the signing by the MLS side a big one.
What it Means for Orlando
Sané should come right in and start next to Jonathan Spector, with some rotation from Aja and Tarek to give the two rest. Starting in the Bundesliga should say enough of his quality that he should be able to succeed in MLS. He has missed much of the preseason but fitness should not be a factor as the move comes in the middle of the German season.
The issue of him missing practice raises some questions and the truth does not seem to be as obvious as it appears. Whatever the reason for him missing practice and getting suspended must be behind him now. If history has told us anything, it is that Jason Kreis does not put up with behavior issues and this will not be repeated.
Sané’s passing is not the best, but when he has the ball he tends to clear it down the field anyway. He also stays on his feet, rarely diving into challenges, and should be a good partner next to Spector. With the improved attackers this year, Sané will be a big asset on set pieces. All-in-all he has the capabilities to be a big-time center back in MLS.