The first new signing for the 2023-24 season has been confirmed. 1. FC Köln have already secured the services of Leart Paqarada for the coming campaign. The left-back, who is currently under contract at FC St. Pauli, will join FC on a free transfer and has signed a deal until 30th June 2026. The 28-year-old is captain at St. Pauli and has made 15 appearances in 2. Bundesliga so far this season. He has scored once, setting up a further four. In the previous year, he registered 10 assists: the highest number for a defender in the league.
FC Managing Director, Christian Keller said: “We are really pleased that we could tie down Leart so early, convincing him of what we are doing here and that he’ll be playing for FC next season. Leart has been playing at a consistently high level in the past few years in 2. Bundesliga and has a lot of quality when on the ball. When he continues to develop his game in a defensive sense, then Leart will be someone who will do our team a lot of good.”
Leart Paqarada said: “I am incredibly proud to be able to wear the FC kit in the coming season. An entire city, that lives for the club and loves the club to the fullest. To be back in the city where I grew up and what means home for me is a feeling that I can’t describe. I can’t wait to play in Müngersdorf for the first time. But until then, my full focus is on FC St. Pauli. I owe them a lot and want to always be remembered in a positive manner.”
Leart Paqarada was born on 8th October 1994 in Aachen. The Kosovo international (21 games, one goal) went through the Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen academies. His first steps in men’s football were taken in Leverkusen’s Regionalliga team, up until the team was discontinued in 2014. Paqarada was then able to join SV Sandhausen on a free transfer for the 2014-15 season, where he immediately became a key player. Up until his move to the Millerntor in 2020, he made 152 appearances (five goals, 18 assists). For FC St. Pauli, he has featured 78 times in the second tier (four goals, 18 assists).