Atlanta United signs Irish midfielder

Atlanta United has opened its summer transfer season by signing Irish midfielder Chris McCann.

McCann, 28, most recently played at Wigan Athletic in England’s League One. He made more than 60 appearances and scored nine goals for the Latics across all competitions after joining the side in 2013.

McCann previously played at Burnley, where he made more than 230 appearances and scored more than 25 goals. He helped the team secure promotion to the Premier League in 2009. He made seven appearances for the Clarets in the Premier League before knee injuries shortened his season and the team was relegated. After four appearances in 2010-11, he recovered to make 87 appearances over the next two seasons before moving Wigan, then in the English Championship, on a free transfer.

Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said he values McCann’s experience and leadership in the locker room.

Pending approval of his visa, McCann will become the MLS expansion side’s fifth signing, joining goalkeeper Alex Tambakis and forward Jeffrey Otoo, who are on loan at Charleston in the USL, midfielder Junior Burgos, who is on loan at Tampa Bay in the NASL, and homegrown player Andrew Carleton.

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McCann, 6-foot-1, can play in the center of the midfield and has played left back, giving Atlanta United roster flexibility.

McCann, a native of Dublin who represented Ireland’s youth national teams at several levels, will go on loan until training camp starts in January.

McCann will occupy one of the team’s international roster slots. He is not a designated player, nor was targeted allocation money used.

“We see Chris coming in to play a midfield role, but having the capacity to play in defense as well,” Bocanegra said through the club. “He has good versatility, technical ability and can contribute with goals and assists from various positions on the field.”

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