As The Mane Land reported on March 1, Orlando City has completed the signing of 27-year-old center back Robin Jansson, in what is expected to be the club’s final move until at least the summer transfer window. In late February, Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi told prosoccerusa.com that the team was “possibly still looking at, maybe, one addition.” That addition has now been made.
Media reports out of Sweden linked Orlando City to Jansson and sources confirmed to TML that those reports were true and that the signing was nearly complete, pending Jansson passing his physical. Days ago, AIK announced that Jansson would not be participating in the club’s Swedish Cup match and that the center back was on a club visit. That club, as it turns out, was indeed Orlando City.
“Robin is a guy that we’re excited to bring to Orlando after the success he has had overseas in Sweden,” said Muzzi in a club press release. “This signing continues to build depth and competition within our group for the 2019 season.”
The 6-foot-1 Jansson appeared in 25 games (all starts) with AIK during the 2018 Allsvenskan season, playing 2,523 minutes and scoring two goals with one assist. One of those goals came against Kalmar FF to ensure AIK clinched the Allsvenskan title. He also notched a goal in the club’s Svenska Cupen (Swedish Cup) match and he started all three of AIK’s Europa League qualifying matches. He was booked four times in league play and once in a Europa League qualifier.
Beginning his career with BK Häcken’s youth side, Jansson made only one appearance with the first team, tallying just 22 minutes in a Swedish Cup game. His first career pro game came in 2011 on loan with FC Trollhättan. Following a stint with Bengtsfors IF in Sweden’s lower divisions from 2012 to 2015, he played 50 matches in all competitions with IK Oddevold in the Swedish third division from 2016-2018, scoring two goals and assisting on five others.
He has also made one appearance with the Swedish national team, which came earlier this year, when he started in a friendly against Finland on Jan. 8, 2019. Given his success with AIK and his recent national team appearance, it would seem Jansson is a player on the rise, perhaps being a late bloomer, so if he works out for Orlando City, it would speak well of Luiz Muzzi and Ricardo Moreira in finding and pursuing him. The story becomes even more intriguing when you consider that Jansson left a job at a horseshoe factory to help lead AIK to its first league title in nine years.
What This Means for Orlando City
The Lions have been playing three at the back thus far in 2019, opting to push the fullbacks forward into wingback positions. Playing that shape made it crucial for Orlando to add more center back depth, especially with Lamine Sané being week-to-week with a quad injury and Carlos Ascues slowly returning from a knock of his own. The roster was thin at the position, with only five true center backs — Sané, Ascues, Shane O’Neill, Alex De John, and rookie SuperDraft pick Kamal Miller.
Once Jansson’s international paperwork is completed, Jansson will provide another solid option at center back and he’s coming here with an eye on earning a starting position. Transfermarkt puts his maximum value is around 750,000 Euros per year but our sources tell us he is not a Targeted Allocation Money signing. Thus, Muzzi is not only supplementing a position of need, but he’s also doing it in an economically sound way. This will allow James O’Connor a bit more relief in knowing he has capable backups if someone goes down — we’ve seen both Sané and Ascues deal with various knocks over the last year. If Sané, Ascues, and Jansson are the starters, it will give O’Connor some security knowing he has solid players like O’Neill, Miller, and De John ready to rotate in if needed. Both O’Neill and De John have had a crucial error through the team’s first two games, but they’ve played well for the most part.
Here’s a look at Jansson’s decisive goal for AIK to clinch the Allsvenskan.