Tom Bogert has reported that Orlando City is finalizing the transfer of forward Nicholas Gioacchini. The 21-year-old Gioacchini has been with Ligue 2 club Caen since 2019, although he was on loan at Montpellier in Ligue 1 last season. Gioacchini is a United States Men’s National Team prospect, and has made eight appearances for the senior side with three goals to his name.
Source: Orlando City SC finalizing acquisition of USMNT forward Nico Gioacchini from French club SM Caen. Free transfer, Caen retain sell on %.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) July 18, 2022
Gioacchini, turning 22 this week, has made 8 apps with USMNT. Was on loan at Montpillier last year, but only played ~500 Ligue 1 mins. pic.twitter.com/k7z3tJlm89
Perhaps the most important thing to note from this are that the deal will be a free transfer, with Caen simply getting a portion of the sell-on fee if Orlando City eventually sells him. Gioacchini can, and has, played as both a forward and a winger, but saw under 500 minutes on the field spread across 28 appearances in Ligue 1 last year.
It’s interesting that his hometown Sporting Kansas City wasn’t able to secure his services given SKC’s struggles this year, but their loss stands to be the Lions’ gain.
Gioacchini and his family moved to France when he was just 15 years old. He joined Paris FC in 2015 and was in the team’s youth academy until 2017, when he appeared in six games during the 2017-2018 season with Paris FC B, scoring twice. He played in 22 matches with Caen B in 2018-2019, scoring seven times, and then followed that up with 49 appearances with Caen’s senior side from 2019 to 2021 scoring six goals. Gioacchini went on loan to Montpellier B for a brief spell during the 2021-2022 season, scoring four goals in just three games. He was loaned to Montpellier’s senior side the remainder of the season, failing to score in 28 appearances. He came off the bench 25 times in those 28 matches and contributed three assists.
What It Means for Orlando City
If the report is true, his arrival as a free transfer is one of the big selling points of this move. Set to turn 22 a week from today, he’s a young player that should still have room to grow, and a free transfer is a low-risk, high-reward move by Luiz Muzzi and company. Additionally, as an American he won’t require a work visa before being eligible to play, and he also won’t require an international roster slot. Once the ink is dry, Nico might very well be someone who can come in and contribute much sooner rather than later. He also fits the club’s current profile of acquiring younger players instead of signing experienced 30-somethings.
Position-wise, he can play on the wing — an area where Orlando City desperately needs some help. Benji Michel and Jake Mulraney haven’t been cutting it this year, and the team has badly needed reinforcements out wide to help take some pressure and attention away from Mauricio Pereyra and Facundo Torres. The big question will be where Nico is most comfortable playing. Just because he can play winger doesn’t mean he sees himself as a winger, but there’s a very good chance Oscar Pareja and Luiz Muzzi will want to use him there and certainly wherever the club is planning to use him has already been discussed.
The striker position is pretty well stocked with Ercan Kara, Alexandre Pato, and Tesho Akindele, although with Pato and Tesho’s numbers not being the best this year, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the young American get some spot starts up top as well.
In theory, this is a move that will be beneficial for both parties. Orlando gets a young player on a free transfer who can come in and help in an area of need immediately, and Gioacchini gets the chance to kickstart a career that seemed to have stalled a bit over the last year. The best case scenario is that he comes in, nails down the starting job at right wing, and provides the offensive boost that Orlando City has been badly missing in recent weeks. At worst, he’s a cheap acquisition who simply doesn’t work out and Gaston Gonzalez takes over the starting job next year as originally intended.
Either way, on the surface this is a sensible move with the potential to become a great piece of business for both Gioacchini and Orlando City.
Here is a look at what he can do from his 2020 Caen campaign.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.