Under a strict salary cap, MLS sides cannot afford many transfer mistakes, which makes loan deals the ideal method for acquiring players, one that the Impact are making use of.
Loan deals are a pretty common mode of exchange in the world of soccer. Its main advantage is that it’s considerably less risky than immediately purchasing a player outright.
If, for example, team A loans player X to team B for a year and player X doesn’t perform in the way that is expected of him during that time, team B can send player X right back to team A without having to bear any further cost.
In today’s rickety economic climate, loan deals have grown ever more popular, even amongst the more rich and prominent clubs. Many teams are no longer keen on dishing out the big bucks on a player before first getting a chance to see that player in action with them for a certain period of time.
Getting a loan deal for a player, however, isn’t always easy, because teams would rather sell their unwanted players instead of loaning them out – though the latter option is still better than nothing because it clears some salary, albeit temporarily.
In MLS, loan deals are becoming more and more popular. And it’s about time too. MLS clubs simply cannot afford to make very many mistakes when it comes to signing players, especially high profile ones. With a meager salary cap of $2,950,000, all it takes is one poor signing or two to set a team back several years.
As for the Montreal Impact, they’ve smartly made use of loan deals this season. All three of their offseason transfer signings – midfielders Andrea Pisanu, Andres Romero and Maximiliano Rodriguez – are on loan until December.
Bologna forward and midfielder, Daniele Paponi, is on trial in Montreal until the end of the week, and if signed will also likely join the Impact on loan for the rest of 2013.
Just like Pisanu who also had a trial with the Impact prior to joining the team on loan, Paponi’s case is ideal. Getting a player on both a trial and then a loan gives clubs a chance to really evaluate a player – or as Impact sporting director Nick De Santis loves to say, to do its “due-diligence” – before deciding whether or not to acquire him indefinitely.
But loan deals can also have their fair share of pitfalls if not handled the right way. It happens sometimes that a player performs well during a loan and the team that has his rights ends up deciding to bring him back after the loan is complete or sets a very high asking price for him.
If a team wants to get a player on loan and thinks that it might want to keep that player indefinitely after the loan is complete, it’s important that that team put an option in the deal, which would enable it to acquire the player at a fixed price for when the loan period has expired.
The details of Pisanu, Romero and Rodriguez’ loans haven’t been released, but the Impact likely have those purchase options already in place. In the case of Pisanu and Paponi, Bologna are hoping that they do in fact excel with the Impact, so that they can finally leave the club – over the last few years, the Serie A side has tried, in vain, to sell Pisanu and Paponi to a host of teams.
The good thing for the Impact is that Pisanu, Paponi, Romero and Rodriguez are players that are looking for playing time, something which they weren’t getting with their former clubs. They want to prove themselves, but that also means that these players are under a lot of pressure and moving to a completely new country and culture isn’t easy – just ask Miguel Montaño. The Impact will have to make doubly sure that these players properly settle in the city. Doing so will really go a long way to helping these players express their qualities on the field. Happy athletes play better than dejected ones.
If it so happens that these players aren’t able to perform well, then the Impact can have them return to their former clubs in December. There’s very little risk involved. It's sure better than having to be stuck with a bad idea.
For MLS teams, loan deals are the way to go. It’s very wise of the Impact to be pursuing this course.