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Eastern Conference Championship

Bliss, Columbus continue talks in pursuit of Argentine DP

OBETZ, Ohio – Columbus Crew technical director Brian Bliss knows the ebb and flow of negotiating international contracts so he is not discouraged by the tenuous nature of the talks with a possible Designated Player from Argentina.

Bliss returned from South America 10 days ago without a deal for the unnamed forward after a phone conversation with the player and his agent on Thursday produced no further progress in reaching an agreement.

“Funny things can happen,” Bliss told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “A guy can say the deal’s no good for me or no good for the club then two or three weeks later they may come back and reconsider and it opens back up again. It happens all the time. It took 18 months to get Milo done with three different tries.”

"Milo" is Chilean midfielder Milovan Mirosevic, who finally signed with the Crew in January after numerous offers.

Bliss said the current bid for the Argentine is the first serious proposal, although informal talks were held in January. The player is still under contract to his Argentine club.

“We’ve spent a lot of our time in discussion in terms of transfer fees,” Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers told MLSsoccer.com on Friday.

“We said, ‘Here’s what we’re willing to do.’ We’ll see where it lands us,” he said. “We’re at the point of demarcation right now. In the next couple of days we’ll know one way or another, at least on that particular player. He is our top choice right now.”

The good news for Columbus is that the month-long transfer period doesn’t officially begin until June 27, so they still have time to get a deal in place.

“It’s also a creative process,” McCullers said. “There’s the hard numbers, the math, but there’s also ideas, ‘What if we did this? Can we structure the payments like this?’

“There’s a lot of that going on so they may come back and have a different idea after we come back with, ‘Look, these are the resources we have available,’” he added.

There are contingencies in case the targeted player rebuffs the Crew with several other Argentine forwards to be considered for the DP slot.

“We’re never back to square one,” McCullers said. “I want players in the pipeline all the time – 365, 24-7. I don’t care what our situation is; I want us tracking players who could be acquisitions for us. We don’t have a start line. We’re in the race all the time.”