MONTREAL – This is going to be tricky.
Those are, in essence, the words used by an Argentinean contact of Nick De Santis when the Montreal Impact sporting director asked about the availability of Hernán Bernardello.
It was March 10 and Bernardello’s Club Atlético Colón would eventually lose 2-1 to River Plate at the Monumental. This exchange, De Santis thought, was the end of the story.
“About a week ago, my phone rang,” De Santis said in a Tuesday media conference call. “I was told that Bernardello’s contract was coming to an end and that there were offers from Mexico and Argentina on the table. I was asked if I was interested, and we started talking.”
The discussions came to a concrete result on Tuesday, when Bernardello agreed to a Designated Player contract for one year, with options for two more, with the Impact. No transfer fee was involved in the signing of the player, whose introduction to the media on Wednesday was postponed because he is currently struggling with the flu.
Contacts between Bernardello and his new teammates will thus be limited for fear of contamination, but it’s only so he can support them best when he joins them on the field. Incidentally, De Santis insisted on how Bernardello can help his teammates in both the short and long term.
“With the CONCACAF Champions League and the rest of the season coming, we have to think about the future,” De Santis said. “In midfield, we have experienced, but a bit older, quality players like Patrice [Bernier] and Davy Arnaud. We had an opportunity to get a player who can help them right now and allow them more freedom going forward.”
Even with the addition of Bernardello, De Santis has not ruled out signing another player during the current transfer window.
“We have our eyes open,” De Santis said. “There are possibilities in [defense] as well. There’s nothing confirmed, but have we stopped looking? No. Are we guaranteeing that we’re signing another player? No as well. But we’re still looking for another player that might stabilize the defense.”