Charlotte FC closing in on deal to land starting-level striker

Giannis Papanikos/AP

Polish striker Karol Świderski is finalizing a deal with Charlotte FC that will likely make him the team’s first Designated Player, a source familiar with the situation told The Observer.

Multiple sources previously told The Observer that Charlotte FC was targeting Świderski, but no deal had been finalized. Now, an official move appears imminent.

Świderski arrived in Charlotte on Monday and is close to signing the deal with the Major League Soccer expansion club worth around $5 million. His contract would be for four years, plus an option year.

An official announcement on Świderski’s arrival is expected this week.

Świderski, who turned 25 on Sunday, received his first Polish national team call-up last year for World Cup Qualifying matches in which he scored five goals in nine appearances. He’s totaled six goals in 14 appearances since his senior debut for Poland, scoring one in an international friendly against Iceland last summer.

He joins Charlotte from Greek club POAK Thessaloniki, one of the country’s top teams, where he spent the last three years. He scored 35 goals and added 14 assists for POAK in 135 appearances, according to Transfermarkt.

Świderski is expected to fill an international roster slot for Charlotte FC and would be considered a Designated Player, whose total compensation and acquisition costs exceed the Maximum Salary Budget Charge ($612,500 this year), with the club bearing financial responsibility for the amount of compensation above his salary budget charge.

He would be the 10th player to fill an international roster slot, of the 11 international slots the club is able to fill. He would also be the second Polish-born player on the roster, joining 22-year-old defender Jan Sobociński. Świderski is a native of Rawicz, Poland.

Prior to signing with POAK, Świderski played for Polish club Jagiellonia Białystok from 2014-19. His attacking capabilities likely mesh in the game model taught by Charlotte FC’s head coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez, who said last week that Charlotte FC was looking to sign ideally two more starting-level strikers and wingers in each position.

“We need to be clever,” Ramírez said ahead of pre-season training, which began last week in Charlotte. “And we need to see that we still have markets open. When we go for a DP or an expensive player, we need to be very, very clever because it’s a lot of money.”

Ecuadorian central midfielder Jordy Alcívar, 22, is currently listed as a Young Designated Player on Charlotte FC’s roster (Young DP’s carry a lower salary budget charge), but Alcívar’s designation could change before rosters are finalized.

The addition of Świderski is expected to be the club’s most expensive move yet. He would be the team’s 25th player, joining an attacking lineup that includes forwards Vinícius Mello and Yordy Reyna, and domestic wingers McKinze Gaines and Kyle Holcomb.

Charlotte FC’s opening match is Feb. 26 against D.C. United in Washington, D.C. The team’s home opener is set for March 5 at Bank of America Stadium.