New York City FC have announced the signing of defender Strahinja Tanasijević from FK Spartak Subotica in Serbia.
Tanasijević is a 26-year-old who can play center back and right back (70 career appearances as a CB, 16 as a right back or right midfielder, per Transfermarkt), and is someone with years of professional experience primarily in Serbia.
He leaves Spartak Subotica to join NYCFC on a contract through the 2025 season, with potential to extend through 2027 with contract options.
The player was first linked with a transfer to NYCFC in this January 31 report from Mozzart Sport, which also claims Tanasijević will be one of two Serbian additions made by New York City, the other being 18-year-old striker Jovan Mijatović.
The defender has made 78 total appearances across six seasons with four different clubs in the Serbian Super Liga, most recently appearing in 17 matches for Spartak Subotica following stints with FK Mladost GAT, FK Cukaricki, and FK Rad.
Tanasijević also spent time in Italy early in his career, featuring for Chievo Verona’s youth team before going on to make one extremely memorable Serie A appearance for the club. Tanasijević subbed on for his Serie A debut in the 71st minute of Chievo Verona’s November 2018 home match with Sassuolo—then received a yellow card in the 85th minute, followed by a second yellow and a sending-off in the 88th minute. Not what you’d ideally be looking for in your Serie A debut, here’s to hoping it works out better when he first takes the field in MLS play for NYCFC.
New York City have added two players to the attack—Hannes Wolf and Agustín Ojeda—with rumors heavily linking them with a third, teen striker Mijatović. Until Tanasijević’s signing, the defense had gone without reinforcing, but there’s now some seasoned cover on Nick Cushing’s bench at both center back and right back.
That’s not meant as a knock on Tanasijević, but reality is that NYCFC looks set to rely on the center-back pairing of Birk Risa and Thiago Martins as its defensive foundation, so Tanasijević may face a fight for playing time, though there is always the potential for a three-center-back formation tweak that slots him into a Cushing Starting XI.
The fact that Tanasijević can also fill in at right back could prove beneficial, as Tayvon Gray has been working his way into Jamaica’s national team and may miss time for international call-ups, while Mitja Ilenič is also frequently an international player for Slovenia, and has been recently linked with a potential transfer abroad.
The third-choice NYCFC center back has played an important role during the club’s recent MLS seasons, with players like Tony Alfaro, Vuk Latinovich, and Sebastien Ibeagha called upon to step up and log important minutes when injuries, absences, or form dips occurred. That role now looks to be filled by Strahinja Tanasijević.