Minnesota United officially landed French center forward Adrien Hunou on Friday, April 23.
Ligue 1 club Stade Rennais FC announced that “after 11 seasons … the 27-year-old, club-trained striker takes the United States direction where he will develop into Major League Soccer with Minnesota United FC. We wish you all the best Adrien!” United confirmed the signing a bit later Friday morning.
On Sunday, French publication L’Equipe reported Minnesota will pay a $3.6 million transfer fee for Hunou, who was under contract with the French club through June 2023. His name is pronounced ADD-REE-AN OO-NEW.
Hunou has signed a three-year contract with MNUFC, plus a one-year club option, the club said Friday. The Frenchman will take an international roster spot and will join the club pending his physical exam, visa/paperwork and completion of the MLS-mandated quarantine for COVID-19.
The cost of this transfer makes Hunou a Designated Player, joining United FC’s other DPs in Emanuel Reynoso and Jan Gregus. If the $3.6 million price tag is precise, he would be the Loons’ second-most expensive player behind Reynoso ($5 million).
Given the official statement from Rennes, it appears Hunou will be able to join Minnesota earlier than previously expected. One earlier marker had been after the end of Rennes’ Ligue 1 season on May 23.
Hunou’s playing time diminished this season, but he has scored four goals in 20 games, with five starts. He has 36 career goals in 160 appearances for the club.
Hunou, nicknamed Pippo, was born in France and is of Polish decent. He has played for the French youth national teams, but has said he wants to play for Poland.
The Loons acquired striker Ramon Abila from Boca Juniors before the season and now have multiple players to plug in at the top of the attack. Given the expense to bring in Hunou, he could be more of a priority to play ahead of Abila, who was brought in on a one-year loan. It will make for some interesting lineup and playing-time decisions from manager Adrian Heath.
Minnesota’s home opener is Saturday night against Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field, and Abila could make his first start after coming off the bench in the loss to Seattle last Friday.