USMNT midfielder Luca de la Torre has completed his anticipated move away from relegated Dutch team Heracles, joining Spanish La Liga club RC Celta de Vigo on a permanent transfer.
The move was confirmed by the clubs earlier today, with the San Diego native signing a four-year contract with the club located in the northwest corner of the country. According to Spanish media outlet Marca, the club paid a sum of approximately $2M to secure his services.
After what was arguably a breakout season with Heracles, the American became available following the team’s unexpected relegation from the Dutch Eredivisie. Due to having both American and Spanish citizenship, the former Fulham youth product was able to count as a European player in La Liga’s relatively strict roster restrictions.
Celta is set to embark on their 11th consecutive season in Spain’s top flight, after finishing the 2021-22 season in 11th place amongst the 20-team division.
“RC Celta strengthens its midfield with the arrival of the young American international Luca de la Torre,” the team announced on their website, “a 24-year-old footballer from California with experience in the Premier League and the Dutch League who will bring verve, talent and quality to the sky-blue midfield.”
The team is coached by Argentinean Eduardo Coudet, who has been at the helm since November, 2020. Coudet typically employed a four-man midfield last season, with 23 year-old Fran Beltrán most commonly taking up the more deep-lying, defensive role, flanked with Franco Cervi on the left and Brais Méndez on the right, with Denis Suárez usually deployed behind the front-two.
Méndez left for La Liga rivals Real Sociedad in the current window, opening up a spot for the American to immediately compete for a starting role. Last season, he was typically positioned in the center of the park, alongside another deep-lying midfielder. In the likely scenario that he spends more time shifted forward on either the left or right of Coudet’s midfield diamond, this will more closely mirror his role in USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter’s three-man midfield.
However he will also have to contend with highly-touted Swedish teenager Williot Swedberg, a versatile attacking midfielder who joined the club from Hammarby in June.
The Sky Blues are heading across the Atlantic for a short North American tour, where they will Liga MX team UNAM in Mexico City on July 13, and will visit MLSers San Jose Earthquakes one week later.
Their La Liga campaign kicks off on August 13, when they host Espanyol in the Estadio Municipal de Balaídos.