Rapids sign Gashi to designated player deal

The Albania international arrives in Colorado after posting prolific goal-scoring numbers in Switzerland.

Two months into an offseason filled with attrition, the Colorado Rapids have made their first marquee signing.

Colorado announced the acquisition of Albania international Shkelzen Gashi as a designated player Monday, with the winger leaving Swiss side Basel on a transfer. Per MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 27-year-old has won Swiss Super League Golden Boot honors each of the past two seasons after bagging 19 goals for Grasshopper in 2013-14 and 22 goals for Basel in 2014-15. He also was named the Swiss top flight's Player of the Year last season.

Gashi also has scored three goals in 11 caps for Albania, which will take part in its first European Championship this summer.

"Shkelzen was our top attacking target this offseason," technical director Paul Bravo said in a news release. "He has proven to be a prolific goal scorer in his club’s domestic and European success. In addition, he has been instrumental in his national team's qualification campaign for Euro 2016."

The signing comes after the Rapids recently parted ways with a slew of regulars, including goalkeeper Clint Irwin, defenders Drew Moor and Maynor Figueroa, midfielders Vicente Sanchez, Juan Ramirez and Lucas Pittinari, and forward Gabriel Torres.

Gashi becomes the Rapids' second designated player, joining Irish striker Kevin Doyle.

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