MONTREAL – Alessandro Nesta was at Impact training on Thursday. He was wearing team colors. He is not, however, officially a member of the squad just yet.
With the former AC Milan center back clad in Montreal blue and sharing a laugh with Marco Di Vaio in the background, sporting director Nick De Santis confirmed on Thursday that Nesta and Montreal had reached a verbal agreement on an 18-month deal. De Santis added that the club could make an official announcement in the coming hours once the paperwork is complete.
The Italian center back’s contract will not be stamped with the Designated Player tag, and the Impact are hopeful that it will become effective in time for Nesta to take part in his first full training session with the team on Friday.
Both parties came to an agreement in Miami last Saturday. Nesta, who had made the trip north to Stade Saputo the previous Wednesday for Marco Di Vaio’s MLS debut – a 3-0 loss to Toronto FC – entered talks with the Impact the next day.
“Before he left, on Thursday night, he told us he was very much intent on furthering the talks with us,” De Santis told reporters. “We then decided to leave for Miami on Saturday and meet him again. It took a few hours before we could say there was a deal.”
Head coach Jesse Marsch, understandably delighted with the news, admitted that the timing of Nesta’s signing is ideal for his team. Injuries to center backs Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas coincided with the Impact’s recent defensive struggles. Marsch reckons that the 2006 World Cup winner could be match fit in two or three weeks – just in time for Ferrari’s scheduled return to action.
And if Marco Di Vaio’s integration to the team is any indication of how Nesta’s acclimation will fare, the Impact manager feels that patience could yield a high reward.
“It’s always hard when you add guys midseason, and last night you could see that Marco fits in well,” Marsch said. “That took three games, or a week, or whatever you want to call it, but now you start to feel like, ‘OK, this is going to be a really good fit.’ Now, we just need to be smart and do the same thing with Alessandro.”