Since reports emerged late last month regarding a transfer for FCD’s top scorer, questions have arisen regarding whether or not he is happy at the club. He reportedly said his desire was for the club to accept San Lorenzo's transfer offer to be closer to his family in Argentina, as his wife is due to give birth to their son in December. The club rejected San Lorenzo's offer for Urruti and a separate deal for winger Michael Barrios last week.
But FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo said the situation has “passed," repeatedly calling Urruti a true professional.
“It was a great opportunity that will happen again. I know that,” Clavijo told MLSSoccer.com, adding that he has stayed in constant communication with both Urruti and Barrios, who lead the club in goals and assists, respectively.
“But at the same time, being a former player and now in my position, the decisions are made with a lot of information in place, and we didn’t have the time to do it. Everything was pretty quick.”
Clavijo pointed to a variety of reasons he couldn’t pull the trigger on moving FCD’s top offensive options this season, one of them being bad timing between the MLS transfer window and the Argentine Primera.
Another factor was the fact that Urruti and Barrios are indeed FC Dallas’ top options on the attacking end, with not as much depth behind them as the team’s had in years past. On top of all that, the team is in unfamiliar territory, flirting dangerously with missing the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013.
“We know for a fact that we will somehow be attractive by offers for some of our guys,” Clavijo said. “That’s the name of the game. That’s where we want to be. We want to be the team that moves players. Because of the calendar being so different when everyone else is looking for players, we’ve been trying to be in position to win a Supporters' Shield or MLS Cup. Last year, it was the Open Cup title. All of those things come at the time of transfers, other teams want to [buy players].
“It was very difficult for us, but we had the team in mind,” he added. "How to protect the team, how to protect the integrity of that group, that they keep fighting together to go someplace.”
The conversations about Urruti and Barrios transferring are not over. Clavijo confirmed that he will sit down with Urruti specifically at the end of the season to discuss the next step for his career.
“I know his desire hopefully to go somewhere. Argentina’s a place that would be great,” Clavijo said. “And we’ll try to fulfill those wishes at the end of the season. Or, the desire for the team is to keep him here and re-sign him to a long-term contract where he’s happy.”
Barrios signed a multi-year extension with FC Dallas earlier this season, so according to Clavijo, the urgency of conversation isn’t as strong for the Colombian as it is with Urruti.
The only certainty at this point is the fact that both will be wearing FCD kits for the remainder of the MLS season, whether or not that includes a trip to the playoffs.
“Those rumors didn’t affect the team or individuals at all, which is another sign that the team and the locker room are healthy,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “It moves my heart because I’ve said a number of times it’s an honor to coach these guys, and when the club decides for them to stay here, they accept it. Then they put in such a performance [against New York last weekend]. That shows our health is there and we’re good.”
Added Clavijo: “I have no doubt the kind of professional Maxi is, and Barrios, that they’ll do everything they can to win a championship. They’ve been challenged to win one here, and I support every single move we do to make sure we achieve those goals.”