The Impact appear poised to land the San Lorenzo star, an electrifying winger who has the ability to lift fans out of their seats, this summer.If it wasn’t already apparent before this season that the Montreal Impact were in need of quality reinforcements, by now it should be plain to see, given the team’s very poor start.
The Impact's relative inaction on the transfer front so far means that any major signing will likely have to wait until the summer. But by that time, the team’s chances of a second berth in the MLS postseason could well be over.
One player who might be worth the wait however, is one whose name has surfaced in recent weeks as a potential designated player signing: San Lorenzo star Ignacio Piatti.
Considered one of the very best players in Argentina's top flight, the prospect of Piatti’s arrival is an exciting one for the Impact. Not only can he score goals, he’s also equally adept at creating them. His lightning-quick speed and superb technical ability makes him both a nightmare for defenders to deal with when isolated in 1-on-1 situations and an absolute joy to watch for fans.
Playing predominantly as a left-sided attacking midfielder with San Lorenzo, Piatti would seamlessly slot into the Impact’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. With left midfield being a position of significant weakness for the Impact, his arrival would finally address what's been one of the Impact's biggest needs ever since they joined MLS; it would also likely mean the end of Sanna Nyassi’s time with the club.
One concern with Piatti, however, is whether he’ll be able to handle the physicality of MLS. The Argentine Premier League is notoriously slow-paced and playing as a winger in MLS will be considerably more demanding, with games often being played energetically from one end to another. Of course, it's also possible that the Impact have another position in mind for the General Baldissera native, perhaps one that's closer to goal.
If the Impact do acquire Piatti this summer, they will probably have to wait until August to see him in action, as San Lorenzo’s season ends in June and he will definitely need some time off. But as much as the Impact may struggle in the meantime, the Impact are also thinking long term. With the current season likely being the last for DP striker Marco Di Vaio, the Impact will have some big shoes to fill in 2015. While Piatti is a very different player from Di Vaio, he could become the face of the team over the next few years. His knowledge of French from his one-year spell at Saint Etienne during the 2006-07 season - though surely limited - is a nice bonus.
If the Impact do manage to sign Piatti, they'll be adding to the long line of creative attacking midfielders from Argentina who currently grace MLS. Players like Javier Morales, Mauro Rosales, Federico Higuain and Diego Valeri have proven quality, while more recent signings like Mauro Diaz, Cristian Maidana and Gaston Fernandez have shown plenty of promise.
The difference with Piatti, though, is that he's got the quality to be the best of the bunch.
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