Sources confirmed to FiftyFive.One that Vadim Demidov is in advanced talks with the club to join in January.
The thirty-year-old Demidov has a reputation as a smart and aggressive player. In 2016, he played as a center back with Bergen side SK Brann and could figure into Adrian Heath’s rotation there. However, he also has extensive experience as a defensive midfielder, including in some of the best leagues in Europe.
Born to Russian parents in modern-day Latvia, and moved to Norway as a young child, he first made his name as a regular for Tippeligaen side Hønefoss, starting at age 18. He secured a move to Norwegian giants Rosenborg in 2008, starting 79 matches in three years.
Demidov’s success earned attention across Europe, and he eventually moved around between Real Sociedad, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Celta Vigo from 2011-2013 before returning back to Norway to play for Brann in 2014. There, he’s served as the club’s captain, guiding the club to promotion back to the Tippeligaen for the 2016 campaign. He also has 16 caps with the Norwegian men’s national team.
On the field, the 6’2″ defender/midfielder has been described as “very brave” by those who have seen him play. Not the quickest or the strongest, Demidov is a smart tackler and a good mark. He’s good in the air defensively and is particularly good at clearing the ball with his head.
Kristan Heneage (FourFourTwo, YahooUK, ESPNFC) has watched Demidov quite a bit over the last decade. To him, installing him alongside Mohammed Saeid in the midfield is a no-brainer.
“I prefer Demidov at CDM, especially in a league like MLS. Demidov isn’t really a physical presence, and I could see him being bullied by some forwards in MLS — Cyle Larin springs to mind. As a CB, I draw comparisons to Nicolai Naess of Columbus, but Nicolai is taller and stronger than Demidov. At least at CDM, you have the benefit of his good passing and vision, but also someone that is a good defender at heart. He’d give the team a bit of bite in the position and free up attackers to do more.”
If signed, he would continue the trend of savvy, non-Designated Player acquisitions after Calvo, Johan Venegas, Miguel Ibarra, and Christian Ramirez. Playing in the midfield, he would fit an Adrian Heath system to the letter. Players like Venegas and Ibarra have shone brightest when given freedom to maneuver. Demidov would be a crucial part to allow for that.
Minnesota United’s spokesperson was “busy eating pizza and couldn’t confirm Demidov.”