The Montreal Impact could yet follow the current MLS trend of “Bringing Local Talent Back Home.”
Impact sporting director Nick De Santis revealed to MLSsoccer.com that he spoke with Canadian international Olivier Occéan on Thursday about the possibility of the 32-year-old forward leaving Germany to play for his hometown club and though it's still early days. De Santis described the call as a “good discussion.”
It came some 24 hours after Occéan was quoted by Agence QMI as saying he has received offers from MLS clubs but is waiting for Montreal to make him one.
De Santis hasn’t seen Occéan – a native of Brossard, Québec, a suburb of Montreal and also the hometown of Impact captain Patrice Bernier – play in the flesh since Sept. 7, 2012, in Canada’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Panama in Toronto.
De Santis already recognizes that Occéan would provide a different dynamic from Montreal’s current forwards, but he intends to go see him play again for 2.Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern this spring to assess his current situation.
“We must look at the schedule and see if I’ll be able to go watch a game – and I think I will,” De Santis told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “We must be certain that he’ll play, that he’ll be fit and everything. Yes, Olivier has been successful in Germany, but things aren’t going so well with Kaiserslautern. It’s important that I do my homework with Olivier, see if he can help the team and how we can make this work.”
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Not only must De Santis make Occéan fit within his salary budget, but he also has to ensure that he’s a technical and tactical fit. As such, he said further discussions must still take place between himself and head coach Frank Klopas.
“I have a good idea of his profile, but the team got ready for the season in a one-forward system,” De Santis said. “Would the coach want to change all that? Those are things that we’ll have to discuss. I didn’t want to discuss this with the staff when they’re focused on Saturday’s game [at FC Dallas], but we’ll have to see with Frank whether there’s interest.”
Occéan has scored six goals in 22 appearances in all competitions this season. He was the top scorer in the German second division in 2011-12, when he bagged 17 goals in 33 games for Greuther Fürth.