Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman open to offseason loan, but keeps focus on playoffs

MONTREAL – Didier Drogba won’t go to Bologna on loan. But what about Laurent Ciman?

The Belgian international, one of the three finalists for MLS Defender of the Year, said on Wednesday that the Montreal Impact were “open” to him going on loan this offseason, perhaps to former club Standard de Liège, who currently need all the help they can get.

Ciman insisted, however, that nothing is set in stone. Mrs. Ciman, for one, isn’t even part of the discussion yet.

“I’ll see,” Ciman told reporters. “First, I need the green light from the missus. And if the missus green lights this, we’ll see what opportunities there are for me. If I have to make sacrifices in my family life, the rest has to follow.”

Ciman, who joined Montreal for family reasons after playing half of the 2014-15 season at Standard, has been working non-stop for a year and a half now – he was also in Belgium’s 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. But the idea of a four-month-long offseason still puts him off.

A two-week vacation is what he’s used to, Ciman said with a smile.

“Not playing for such a long time, that’s never happened to me,” Ciman said. “The club is open. After that, we’ll see under what conditions.”

Added interim head coach Mauro Biello: “Obviously, we want to focus on Sunday’s game. When we get an offer from a team, we’ll discuss it. For now, we haven’t had any offers. For me, those are rumors. Our focus is Sunday’s game.”

Ciman is one of two Montreal nominees for the league's year-end awards, the other being Drogba, who’s up for Newcomer of the Year. Coincidentally, rumors have swirled around linking Drogba to a loan spell at Bologna, Impact president Joey Saputo’s other club.

But Montreal released a statement on Tuesday morning denying those rumors, which were an unwelcome distraction before Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal against Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. Drogba himself had a bit of a laugh about it during training on Wednesday, shouting that he was “off to Bologna for pasta bolognese.”

“It’s the end of the season,” Impact captain Patrice Bernier said. “I don’t focus on what’s going to happen with Didier or whatever. Thierry Henry went on loan, others too. We are focusing on finishing this season, on playing. Then, when it’s done, guys want to maintain their top shape. The club has confirmed that it wouldn’t happen. Right now, everyone’s thinking about the next game.”