(CNN) -- AC Milan have swooped to sign Standard Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu on a three-year contract -- making him the first American to appear in Serie A since Alexi Lalas in 1996.
Onyewu will become the first American since Alexi Lalas to appear in Italian Serie A after joining AC Milan.
Onyewu, who has also played in the English Premier League with Newcastle United, has moved to the San Siro on a free transfer after impressing with some superb displays during the United States' run to the Confederations Cup final.
The 27-year-old has played 38 times for his country, scoring five goals.Latest transfer gossip and rumors
"This transaction shows once again the excellent friendly relationship between our club and Belgian club Standard Liege, particularly their executive vice-president Luciano D'Onofrio," said a statement on Milan's official Web site.
The six-foot four-inch player was born in Washington DC to Nigerian parents but began his club career at Metz in France in 2002.
He was loaned out to La Louviere in Belgium in 2003 and his form there earnt him a move to Liege, where he won two Belgian titles.
He then joined Newcastle on loan, playing 11 league matches.
However, the transfer is unlikely to appease the Milan supporters who are unhappy with the summer sale of Brazilian superstar Kaka to Real Madrid -- and the departure of coach Carlo Ancelotti to Chelsea.
About 300 fans protested outside the club's Milanello base on the first day of pre-season training on Monday, complaining at the lack of big name signings.