Summer is here and so is the secondary transfer window. The New England Revolution have wasted no time in dipping into the market and they have their man. Jozy Altidore has moved on from the club whilst SPFL midfielder Ian Harkes has joined the squad!
SPFL Midfielder Returns to MLS
All About the Revs’ New Arrival
This is the first of a few new faces in New England if the rumours are to be believed. Ian Harkes started out on American shores, playing a year in D.C. under the stewardship of long-time head coach Ben Olsen.
Another famous name in the MLS landscape is Harkes’ new boss, Bruce Arena, a man who he had a lot of praise for. “His long history just in U.S. Soccer is tremendous, so it’s a privilege to be working with him and to get the opportunity to work with a great team like this.”
Welcome to New England @ian_harkes!
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) July 5, 2023
Most recently though, Harkes plied his trade as an SPFL midfielder, between 2019 and 2023. He leaves on something of a sour note after Dundee United’s relegation to the Championship over in Scotland, particularly being a regular in the starting XI this year. The 28-year-old amassed 2,16 league minutes this season with 25 of his 30 appearances for the Terrors being starts.
In all competitions, Harkes contributed two goals and three assists whilst also picking up four yellows and a red card. He was sent off in the very first game of the season, a 1-1 draw away at Kilmarnock and this plays into something that both he and Bruce mentioned- the tenacity of the league.
Starting first with Harkes’ comments, he said, “it definitely hardens you as a player. I think the style of play is a little different over there, it’s more direct, definitely more physical, but I enjoyed it.” Meanwhile, Coach Arena said the following: “the way they play there makes it a hard-nosed league and I think it toughened him up a little bit so we’re looking forward to seeing how he’ll contribute.”
Where Will the Former SPFL Midfielder Fit in?
18 of Harkes’ starts an SPFL midfielder came as a central midfielder whilst just once he played in a defensive role, and six times in an attacking role. As a result, it seems unlikely that the new arrival has been brought in to provide some much-needed cover for Matt Polster. Instead, he may occupy the Latif Blessing role as someone who can go both ways and allow Carles Gil to be at his playmaking best.
Blessing’s career in New England is yet to really take off plus the likes of Tommy McNamara and Maciel have been sidelined with injuries for a while now. Noel Buck is someone who has snatched the opportunity given to him with both hands but he hasn’t played in a few weeks, since he assisted Gustavo Bou against Orlando City.
Here is the lowdown on Harkes as offered by Bruce Arena. “He’s a good, solid player. He can play in a variety of positions in the centre part of midfield. He’s a good athlete, he works hard, and he’s an honest player whose technically good. He’s smart, he’s going to help us.”
John and Ian Harkes are the first father-son duo in #NERevs history, which is pretty damn cool. Ian said Virginia was always home growing up, but he remembers spending the summer in New England while his dad was playing with the Revs. https://t.co/y83QllV4je
— Jeff Lemieux (@jeff_lemieux) July 5, 2023
It is worth noting that Harkes is no stranger to the Revolution as well. Ian’s father John, formerly of Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County amongst others, also played for the Revs between 1999 and 2001. On top of that, he has a relationship with Arena. In Bruce’s own words, “his father John played for me at the University of Virginia and his mother was a soccer player there too. We’ve known each other probably close to 40 years.”
This weekend will see the Revs cross paths with the New York Red Bulls, a fellow Eastern Conference side. They are a very energetic team and always have been, particularly at Red Bull Arena where the game will take place on Saturday night. As a result, if the now former SPFL midfielder Harkes is to debut then, it could be a real baptism of fire!
Featured image credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports, taken Aug 18, 2021.
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