Jurgen Locadia - FC Cincinnati - Back

At the time of MLS's suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp was jugging a few key decisions.


Nijkamp and his staff were a few weeks into their search for a new head coach, while forward Jurgen Locadia had joined the club on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion with a purchase option looming at the expiration of the loan on July 5. The Athletic's Jeff Rueter reported that option was $10 million.  


With those two balls up in the air, FC Cincy are hoping to make progress on each even as the league is at a standstill.


"The coaching search is part of the challenge," Nijkamp told reporters on Wednesday. "If we don't know when we restart this league, it will impact when we appoint a head coach. Of course, if we appointed a head coach today he'd get time to share his idea with staff and interact with the players but we have to keep in our minds to take responsibility for all members of the club. In this case, the timing for getting a new head coach is key. I'm still talking with a few candidates. We're delaying a little bit but not canceling. We're positive in a certain moment, we'll back, then the new head coach of FC Cincinnati will have to be in market." 


Nijkamp added that the club brought one domestic-based candidate to Cincinnati but two targets abroad were unable to come in person.


"We had one candidate for an in-market visit, the other two candidates did not because they're from abroad," he said. "It was in the time they closed the borders, it was not possible to bring them in."

As for Locadia, the forward has played 116 minutes over two matches with the club after joining this winter. He scored a goal in his debut, but FC Cincy were hoping to get a larger sample size of his performances before deciding whether or not to pick up his option.


There are no guarantees the league will resume play before the deadline. 


"The reason to get that (purchase) option on the 5th of July, we'd get an impression with ownership, the board and technical staff for how he adapts in this league in 18 or 19 matches," Nijkamp said. "But now he's only played two matches, and it was not two full matches. We cannot say 'okay, of course we see enough and we will exercise the option to pay the transfer fee to Brighton.'"


Currently, the Orange and Blue and Brighton are in discussions to review the loan agreement, perhaps to extend the loan. 


"We're talking now with Brighton & Hove Albion to review the loan agreement again, how to find each other a win-win situation for all the parties," Nijkamp said. "We must first have a better understanding about what will happen with the summer window, the finish of the season in Europe and the restart of our league."


Locadia made his desires known, in an interview with The Enquirer and Cincinnati.comhe stated his hope to extend his stay with the club on a permanent basis.