MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact's No. 10 has finally arrived.
After months of stressful gossiping, Impact fans can finally breathe easier. No, Ignacio Piatti isn’t staying at San Lorenzo long-term, nor is he leaving for Brazil, Italy, Spain or Mexico.
He's leaving his native Argentina for a long-term Designated Player contract with MLS and the Impact, the club confirmed on Wednesday.
“He’s 29, and this is an important time in his career,” Impact sporting director Nick De Santis told reporters on Wednesday. “Having him here in Montreal is very exciting.”
De Santis said it was the longest courtship he’d ever been involved in – longer than Marco Di Vaio’s. Considering the peculiarities of the deal, it makes sense.
Montreal will let Piatti complete San Lorenzo’s 2014 Copa Libertadores run. Currently set for a two-leg semifinal, San Lorenzo's run could carry through August 13, the second leg of the championship. The second registration window closes on August 6. The Impact will thus need a special exemption from FIFA to register Piatti outside of that window.
“When he told us about that, it also felt like, if I had an important player in my team and we were in the semifinals of the Champions League, I’d wish he didn’t leave,” De Santis said. “We had to understand. It’s a shame he can’t be here on July 7 or 8, but we understand his situation. In the end, it’s a very important competition for him and for us as well, because those are important, very high-quality games.”
- Learn more about Montreal's new DP at ImpactMontreal.com
De Santis said Montreal are protected in case of injury to Piatti, who finally closed the deal on Tuesday after failing to bring him in last season. De Santis described Piatti as an attacking midfielder who scores goals and puts defenses on their heels.
Piatti, warned De Santis, is not a miracle solution that will solve ninth-placed Montreal’s problems. But De Santis has no reason to think that adaptation will be difficult.
“From the first time I met him, I could see there really was an intention to come here to Montreal and to MLS,” De Santis said.