French midfielder Ousmane Dabo has signed a Major League Soccer contract and will be joining the New England Revolution once his transfer certificate and visa are finalized according to multiple reports. Dabo, who turned 34 today, last played in the Italian Serie A for Lazio and notched three career appearances with the French national team during the 2003 Confederations Cup.
Dabo has been without a contract since 2010, having last played for Lazio in the Italian Serie A. In his 16-year career, Dabo has scored just 11 goals, though he is known for his clean-up role and organized play in midfield.
Dabo is originally from Laval, a city in northeastern France approximately 120 kilometers from Paris. From 1990-1995, Dabo developed in Stade Rennais’ youth academy before being promoted to the first team. After playing three years for the Stade Rennais senior team, Dabo was sold to Inter for a low transfer fee in 1998. But Dabo’s move to Inter wasn’t lucrative, as the French midfielder hardly appeared for the first team and was loaned out to Vicenza the next year. Dabo rounded out his first Italian tour of duty in Parma before finally returning to France to play with AS Monaco.
By the time Dabo had reached a five-year playing career, he had failed to establish himself anywhere outside of his home country.
Dabo returned to Italy on loan from Monaco in 2001 and eventually found his way to Lazio in 2003. Lazio signed Dabo for €5.65 million after stints with Vicenza and Atalanta. Dabo’s organized style of play made him a staple for most of his time with Lazio. And, though he left for Manchester City in 2006, he made his return to Lazio in 2008.
Dabo has not played a game since the end of the 2009-10 season in June, much like his soon-to-be Revolution teammate and French compatriot Didier Domi, who was recently signed as a free agent as well. Both Domi and Dabo are the first French players to be signed by the Revolution.
With this transfer, Revolution midfielders will have stiffer competition for a starting role in central defensive midfield, which is Dabo’s position by trade. Veteran midfielder Shalrie Joseph will likely pair with Dabo in midfield, though rookie Stephen McCarthy and recently re-signed central midfielder Pat Phelan could fight for playing time.
While terms of Dabo’s contract have yet to be released, it seems unlikely he’ll be one of the highly paid Designated Players promised by Revolution Chief Operating Officer Brian Bilello.
Dabo recently admitted to not being the marketing type earlier when asked about a move to MLS.
“Over there, salaries are nowhere near what they are in Europe, except for superstars such as Henry and Beckham,” Dabo told francefootball.fr. “I am a defensive midfielder, I am almost 34. I will not be the one selling shirts.”
Dabo’s American playing career will commence once his paperwork is completed for him to move to the United States and play in Major League Soccer. He will then join the Revolution for preseason.
Even with Dabo’s move, the Revolution are still waiting on the paperwork from two other players, according to Bilello.