San Jose GM Doyle hoping to strike gold before deadline
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — For a guy whose time remaining to make a potentially season-changing deal could be counted in hours rather than days or weeks, San Jose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle looked remarkably calm and collected as he talked to the media on Thursday afternoon.
“I don’t have a choice,” Doyle said. “What am I going to do? Cry? I’ve been on a deadline for two or three weeks.”
Doyle still hopes to beat that deadline and deliver the attacking help his club, mired in a franchise-record 10-match winless streak, so desperately needs.
“I think we have a lot of quality players here,” Doyle said. “I think the guys that are here have to do a better job, that’s for sure. But we know that we need to add a player.”
After shepherding one deal nearly to completion Wednesday night, only to see fall apart at the last second, Doyle said Thursday that he still has three or four targets in his sights as the Quakes try to counteract the absences of Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon and set-to-return Simon Dawkins up front.
“He would have helped our team out, for sure,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said of the near-miss. “John’s working really hard to get it done, so I think we’ll get someone.”
Although Doyle didn’t get into specifics about the identities of his persons of interest, one can infer from the GM’s comments that they’re not coming from within MLS — “We’ve had that opportunity all year long and nothing has made us want to do that,” Doyle said — or from Europe, where players are in preseason shape and will need two weeks to get up to speed.
Instead, Doyle has been concentrating on South America, where teams are already in season. He spent time last week with Brazilian first-division side SC Internacional, one of the Quakes’ partner clubs, scouring the landscape for talent.
Doyle had been hoping to potentially get some help from Internacional in a fashion similar to what the Quakes received from another club partner, Tottenham Hotspur, when they loaned out Dawkins to San Jose for this season. Internacional’s own drastic injury problems made that impossible, however.
The Quakes are therefore hoping to latch onto a talented goal-scorer who’s available because of off-field reasons, rather than a lack of success on the pitch. San Jose are not realistic suitors for the 18- or 19-year-olds that Brazilian clubs want to sell for $5 million or more, Doyle admitted, but for every teenager who gets showcased to drive up their price tag, teams “have to take a guy who’s pretty good and not play him.”
“You have to be a little lucky and find somebody that’s fallen out of favor during the season ... and they just need another chance,” Doyle said. “In Brazil, it’s that 23- to 26-year-old player.”
The next 24 hours will tell the transfer tale for the Quakes, but Doyle isn’t making a bet one way or the other.
“We’ll see,” Doyle said. “[It’s] just as easily nothing could happen as happen. I want something to happen, that’s for sure.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes