The San Jose Earthquakes have had a relatively quiet offseason so far in terms of roster news, but it appears that that is about to change.
According to a report from Get French Football News, AC Ajaccio team captain Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi has finalized a deal to sign with MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes. The report claims that Pierazzi and his Ligue 1 employer mutually terminated his contract and that the defensive central midfielder will join the Quakes on a free transfer. An Earthquakes team spokesperson confirmed that the two sides have agreed to terms to bring Pierazzi to MLS, but the deal has not been finalized.
AC Ajaccio released a statement last week that Pierazzi was unlikely to continue his career with the club, and rumors quickly circulated that the Chicago Fire might be his destination, but they did not indicate what move was in store for the 28-year old. San Jose's interest in the Ajaccio native was first reported last week by Get French Football News, but confirmation of that interest by the Quakes was initially not forthcoming.
Pierazzi has played his entire career for his hometown club and in 179 appearances has scored 2 goals. More an organizing midfielder, much in the same mold as Sam Cronin, Pierazzi would provide cover for last season's team MVP and could also start alongside Cronin if the Quakes chose a more defensive formation. In addition to his qualities on the field, the longtime captain of AC Ajaccio is expected to provide a strong character in the Earthquakes locker room, a trait that head coach Mark Watson indicated at the conclusion of the 2013 season that he would be looking for in guys signed to the roster for 2014.
As of the start of the new year, San Jose's website showed 21 players on the 30-man roster, and three of those players, Steven Beitashour, Marvin Chavez, and Jaime Alas, are unlikely to be back with the club this season. In addition to signing Pierazzi, the Earthquakes will continue their offseason push to improve their team through the spine of the formation.