The Montreal Impact have been in a bit of limbo over the last month or so.
L'Impact were eliminated from the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and announced their end-of-season roster decisions, typically the first thing a club does in the offseason, but still had one more game (at least) on the calendar to finish off their run at the Concacaf Champions League.
Well, after falling to Olimpia earlier this week, they're in full offseason mode now. And they kicked it off with a big addition.
The Impact acquired midfielder Djordje Mihailovic from Chicago Fire FC in exchange for up to $1 million in General Allocation Money, among the most expensive intra-MLS trades in league history.
“It was a no-brainer for us to make that move," head coach Thierry Henry told media on a virtual press conference Friday. "Now he has to come in and perform.”
Mihailovic, who just turned 22 last month, has extensive MLS experience under his belt already. He has seven goals and 15 assists in 73 appearances (45) starts, which would have been more if not for a torn ACL that cost him most of the 2018 season.
He just wrapped perhaps his best season as a pro, with two goals and seven assists in 1,172 minutes. He was second on the Fire in chances created and expected assists.
“When you make a transfer — and it is a transfer — inside the league and you pay $600,000 or $800,000 (GAM), that means a lot of money," sporting director Olivier Renard said. "But if yesterday I took a player from Europe, or Argentina, for $1 million, everybody would say we’re making a big investment in a young player from Argentina. For me, it’s no difference. We wanted the player, we made the deal."
It's not the first time in recent months that the Impact traded a significant amount of GAM for a young player in MLS. Towards the end of the Secondary Transfer Window, they acquired forward Mason Toye from Minnesota United.
Toye, 22, didn't immediately settle into the team with just two starts of a possible seven matches available but next year will prove a better representation of the deal.
The dream for Impact fans is Mihailovic and Toye making each other better and forming a formidable young partnership in attack.
“Believe me, if I have to pay the (additional) $200,000 GAM, I’ll be happy," Renard said. "It’ll mean he did a great job.”