ORLANDO, Fla. – LAFC have received multiple offers for the first overall pick in Friday’s SuperDraft, club GM John Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday.
Thorrington didn’t say which teams have made offers for the No. 1 pick, but said that LAFC are open to moving the selection for the right price. Kevin Kinkead reported on Saturday that the Philadelphia Union are interested in trading Targeted and General Allocation Money to move into the top-three of the draft.
“I guess what I would say is we haven’t traded it, so that says a lot. People use the term untouchable and off limits and all the rest of it, but the reality is there is no such thing in our world,” he said. “So it just depends. And we are absolutely comfortable that if we make that pick we’ll be ecstatic with it, and therefore it would need to be something better than that to tempt us to trade it.”
Thorrington said that if LAFC keep the pick, they’ll wait until after the Combine closes on Wednesday to determine who they’ll select. Potential options at No. 1 include versatile Akron defender Joao Moutinho, Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.
He didn’t reveal many specifics about who LAFC are considering selecting if they keep the first selection, but Thorrington did offer some perspective on whether he prefers drafting based on potential or immediate readiness.
“They’re tradeoffs and I think it depends. You also have to account for position there, so if you’re looking at the best player and you have a ready-made solution [on your roster], it’s easier to go for longer-term upside than a ready-made turnkey solution,” he said. “It depends on how you look at it. Certainly, we see the potential of both in this draft. When we look at what we have, what we need and what is on offer, we think that there are very good options for us that can help us right away. We also think that there are options we think will be solid contributors in the years to come, and so those are all of the variables that enter into our thinking as we approach Friday.”
Of course, this week is about more than just the draft for LAFC, who also hold the first picks in the second and third rounds. The club have one of the largest contingents at the Combine, with Thorrington joined in Orlando by head coach Bob Bradley and his four assistants, VP of soccer operations and assistant GM Will Kuntz, director of soccer operations Mike Sorber and several other technical staffers.
The group are working to add to LAFC’s inaugural roster, which currently stands at 11 players. Thorrington said the team plans on having 20-25 players for the start of preseason on Jan. 22, with 15-18 on full contracts. The difference will be made up by trialists and unsigned draft picks.
Thorrington said that club are currently closing deals that are “all but done,” and that they should be making a few player announcements very soon. One of those additions will likely be veteran right back Steven Beitashour, who has reportedly agreed to a free agent deal with LAFC after two years with Toronto FC. Other additions will likely come in the midfield, where LAFC currently only have Benny Feilhaber and Omar Gaber, who is also capable of playing fullback.
“Midfield’s the obvious spot, and therefore the majority of those bigger conversations that are going on are about filling the needs like that,” said Thorrington. “I think if you look at what we have done so far, the building blocks are there but not every piece is put into the puzzle yet, and that is certainly an area we’re looking to add.”
LAFC are also in conversations with several different Designated Player options. They currently have two DPs on the books in forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, with Thorrington saying that the club are currently evaluating whether to add a third DP before the season or during the summer.
“There’s an argument to be had to wait ‘til summer, but we’re in conversations with options there,” he said. “If the right deal and the right player come, we’re prepared to sign a third DP and we’ll weigh that up versus our options that we think will be available in the summer.”