With the Impact playing well and leading the Eastern conference, they might not feel the need to make significant roster changes when the transfer season resumes in two weeks.A year ago, the MLS international transfer window opened and star Serie A striker Marco Di Vaio made his debut for the Montreal Impact in a 3-0 home loss to Toronto FC. Shortly after the final whistle, Impact president Joey Saputo walked over to Alessandro Nesta, who had come to visit Di Vaio, and eventually convinced the world-renowned defender to join the team as well.
It’s probably safe to say that this year’s summer transfer window, which opens July 9, will likely prove to be far less sensational.
Though sporting director Nick De Santis explained in the offseason that any significant changes to the roster would take place in the summer, given the fact that the Impact hold a four point lead atop the Eastern Conference and with fewer games played compared to their rivals below, the team might very well be fine as is – in other words, good enough to challenge for the MLS Cup.
If there isn’t really a need to make a big splash in the coming window, it has a lot to do with the positive acquisitions De Santis was already able to make earlier this year. The additions of Andres Romero, Andrea Pisanu and Blake Smith have helped bolster the Impact’s wide midfield positions and forward Daniele Paponi is proving to be an excellent partner for Di Vaio in the attack.
The Impact aren’t exactly lacking in depth; every position boasts two or sometimes even three alternatives. But if there is one position that does bear some fragility it’s center back where Hassoun Camara is the only real alternative to Nesta and Matteo Ferrari. Nelson Rivas would be a great option if not for the fact that he’s almost always injured. Academy products Karl Ouimette and Wandrille Lefevre have shown some potential but they can’t really be counted on for long stretches – at least not right now - though they’ll likely see the field when the Champions League group stage kicks off in August.
A position which could see changes is centre midfield, for with the recent signing of academy player Zakaria Messoudi, the Impact now possess eight centre midfielders in the roster competing for only two starting positions. And that number could rise to nine if the Impact decide to sign expansion pick and trialist Paolo DelPiccolo, though as head coach Marco Schällibaum explained to La Presse this week, the odds are against the 22 year old.
“He’s someone that’s got a good base, but there are already a lot of players at his position,” Schällibaum said in French. “It’s not a position where we have only one or two guys but rather six or seven. This is what plays against him, even if he’s a left-footed player that I like a lot.”
A decision on DelPiccolo’s future is expected to be made within the next few days and he might see his rights traded to another team in MLS. But other players further down on the depth chart in midfield could also be moved as well.
The Impact have very little wiggle room with the salary cap and if ever they wanted to sign a second designated player they would first need to let go of an important piece or two. But the Impact are first in the East and playing really well, so why fix something that doesn’t need fixing?
The priority for the Impact now will be to keep their key assets healthy. Rivas making a return to regular training for the first time this year will probably feel like the biggest signing this summer.
Things should otherwise be fairly quiet in La Belle Province.