MONTREAL -- Zarek Valentin simply needed a temporary change of scenery.
Pending a medical and a successful work permit application, the 21-year-old fullback will be loaned to Norwegian club FK Bodø/Glimt until Dec. 31, 2013, with a view on a 2014 return, Montreal Impact sporting director Nick De Santis confirmed on Wednesday.
“He’ll get familiar with another environment, another mentality and another culture of soccer,” De Santis told reporters. “It’ll also help his development on the tactical and technical sides. I think he’s open to that idea, as he saw how other players went through similar experiences to great effect.”
The Impact have no worries that Valentin, who has yet to play in MLS since he sustained an ankle sprain against the Houston Dynamo on July 21, 2012, will indeed be given much-needed minutes on the field.
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FK Bodø/Glimt head coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen, a former assistant to Hans Backe with the New York Red Bulls in 2011 and 2012, appears to be a fan of Valentin's, whom he described in local newspaper Avisa Nordland as “the type of player I like: he’s good on the ball and he’s got an offensive style.”
It was in fact FK Bodø/Glimt that approached Montreal for Valentin’s services, according to De Santis, who also pointed out that other MLS teams showed an interest in the University of Akron alum without specifying which ones.
“We think he’s a young player with a nice future,” De Santis said. “We now have to think about how he’ll develop. We weren’t looking to [ship him out].”
The deal also frees up space under the salary cap for the Impact, who have recently been linked with Bologna forward Daniele Paponi. De Santis recognizes that Bologna have approached Montreal to sound out their interest in the player, but no deal has been made.
“It’s up to us to see if, first of all, he would come here, spend time in Montreal and show us his qualities and personality,” De Santis explained. “It’s on the table, but we haven’t made a decision yet.”