Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Speculation: Transfer Window Moves

I thought it would be good to talk about our ideas for the summer transfer window, just in case Garth needs some advice.

The team currently has two open roster spots, with the departure of Escalada. Previously the league made a rule change allowing roster relief for players on loan, which opened up Nimo’s spot. In advance of the contract guarantee date, the team re-assigned Nunez into that developmental spot, which gives them greater flexibility. However, I don’t see more than one player being brought in unless Yura departs early for Europe.

As we know, prior to the Yura announcement Garth mentioned that the team only had the ability to sign a complementary player. With the Yura news however, he said "that changes everything."

Also JK is reportedly scouting in Mexico. 

Here are some thoughts:

  • I wouldn't expect a DP. However, if a player is coming out of Mexico there would be a good chance of it being a DP level player. In 2008, there were only 4 Mexican nationals playing in MLS (1 of which was a DP). The reason: they can typically make more in Mexico and many view MLS as an inferior league.
  • I wonder if signing more than a complementary player may not be the best thing for RSL. Integrating Mathis and Russell last season took awhile (although with Johnson it seemed to happen instantly). So if you bring in a mid-level guy ($100K-$200K), you'll have him next season too. He probably won't help you much this season. I am doubtful that you can afford to bring in a higher end player ($200K+) this season, however if you wait until the offseason that may be more of a possibility. So it might be that if we wait until next season (with Yura's departure), we would end up with a better player.
  • International players are still a crapshoot, but one that you certainly must take. As we've seen in recent years (Mantilla, Cordoba, Deuchar, Escalada and players like Denilson, Gallardo, etc ), you never know what a player will bring to MLS no matter what their credentials. However, when you are looking for a striker you will need to be looking abroad.; The list of quality US strikers is a short one, and those players are already committed to other teams. Prying them away is unlikely.

So what’s the team likely to do? I’m sure that they have been going through their list of potential candidates and coming up with a short list. My guess is that a move will be made during the window. The likely profile would be a young striker coming out of S. America or C. America who has had a couple of years of showing good form, but isn’t a fully established player. A more established, proven finisher could come out of Mexico or Europe with a DP price tag, but I would guess that is unlikely.

Either way I wouldn’t expect a player that can elevate this team instantly. It takes time to come together with teammates, figure out your role in this system, and learn the speed and physicality of the league.