Those moves raised concern among some sections of Charlotte’s supporters, especially as their 2024 season opener – a Feb. 24 home test vs. New York City FC (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass) – comes into view.
However, new head coach Dean Smith is confident that Charlotte’s two newly-opened Designated Player spots won’t go to waste.
“We will certainly have one [DP] come in before the season starts and kicks off, if not two. It's something that we're working on,” Smith told media from preseason camp in California.
“I let everybody know before we traveled to Miami, my thoughts with Kamil, and we wish him well at Granada now that he's gone there. Karol had intimated that he wanted to go back to Europe, so I was pretty cool with that.
“I don't want players at the club who don't want to be here. We want players fighting for the crown and the jersey. What we've got now is players who want to be here and a really good squad mentality at the moment. That's important as well as bringing in new players.”
As that search unfolds, Smith identified a left-footed center back, midfielder and winger as areas they’re looking to improve.
Framing everything: The MLS Primary Transfer Window remains open through April 23, unlike how European windows are shut.
“We're getting closer,” Smith said. “We're negotiating with players at the moment and hopefully we can have some movement on that soon.”
Charlotte’s remaining DP is Enzo Copetti, who joined last winter from Racing Club for reportedly a near-$6 million fee. Rumors recently surfaced that Copetti would return to his native Argentine, but Smith backed the striker as he looks to improve upon 6g/2a in 26 matches last season.
“We can put that to bed straight away,” Smith said. “[Copetti] is a Charlotte FC player and will stay that way this season. We're not looking to offload him. He's an integral part of the squad.”
Charlotte FC notes
• Charlotte’s pursuit of attacking midfielder Albert Grønbæk looks to have fizzled out, as he’s signed a new contract with Norwegian side Bodø/Glimt. The club reportedly offered a $10+ million fee for the Danish youth international. He would have been a DP.
• French midfielder/defender Djibril Diani, who's playing for Ligue 2 side Caen, is linked with a move to Charlotte. The 25-year-old has also featured extensively for Swiss side Grasshoppers.
• Serbian midfielder Nikola Petković continues to play with Charlotte in preseason. Reports indicate he’ll get promoted to the first team, and get a U22 Initiative spot, after impressing in 2023 with MLS NEXT Pro affiliate Crown Legacy FC.
• Smith indicated that Portuguese winger Iuri Tavares, who also shined for Crown Legacy FC last season, could elevate to a first-team contract.
• Former Ghana international winger Tariqe Fosu is on trial with Charlotte. He’s played extensively throughout England, most recently for Premier League side Brentford.