Former Montreal Impact technical director and player, Adam Braz, joins MLSsoccer.com to break down all the big moves during the 2019 summer transfer window.
Here we are smack in the middle of the summer transfer window, but perhaps your team has yet to make a move?
Don't be surprised.
It's typical of the summer transfer window to see a flurry of activity at the beginning of the window – we saw plenty happen last week – and then just as it's about to close. The summer deadline day this year is Aug. 7.
The picture is clear for both stages: There are those teams looking to sign players as soon as the window opens so they can hit the ground running and see the field right away. The scenario near the deadline sees teams desperately trying to close a deal for the final stretch (and with the regular season wrapping up Oct. 6, it's truly a final stretch).
While things might seem quiet in what seems to be a current lull in this middle part of the transfer window, that is hardly the case behind the scenes for general managers and technical directors across MLS.
Your best friend during this period is your phone. Constant phone calls to counterparts in MLS were crucial for me, as things changed quickly from week to week and you never knew when a player from another team could become available. Agents are also calling and emailing to sell you on any number of players. An organized account of notes from all these conversations was imperative and it served as a reference throughout the transfer window.
In addition to the phone conversations, technical staffs are also constantly keeping up to date with roster moves and news from around the league. Any injury, for example, could open the door for a potential deal. Meetings with the head coach are held regularly to provide updates on trade talks, as well as updates on any international player signing in the works.
When the window closes, you need a little break from your best friend – your phone!
With all that being said, we still saw a number of lower-profile moves and other chatter in MLS this past week. They’re all notable for a few reasons:
Mo Adams to Atlanta United
Adams is not a like-for-like replacement for the injured Brek Shea, but the Englishman does provide versatility, as Frank de Boer has pointed out, and he will provide depth in midfield and at fullback for Atlanta. He does not take up an international spot and he is on the supplemental roster. Both factors will have played a part in Carlos Bocanegra’s calculations.
Philadelphia sign player to pre-contract
The Union inked Homegrown Player Cole Turner to a pre-contract for January 1, 2020. By initially signing Turner to Bethlehem, Philadelphia continue to demonstrate that there is a clear pathway from the academy, to their USL Championship team and then into the first team for their Homegrown Players. Philly also avoid having to deal with roster and budget implications in 2019. It's a win-win for the player and the club.
Lod to MNUFC
Minnesota wanted a left-sided player and got one by signing Robin Lod from Sporting de Gijon by using Targeted Allocation Money. Head coach Adrian Heath noted that they’ve tracked him for quite some time, which should reassure fans as to the diligent background work that went into this signing. Entering his prime and with lots of experience, I don’t see Lod taking too long to acclimate to MLS.
EPL team eyeing Long
The rumor mill tends to get noisy during this window, and all clubs need to deal with it at one point or another. How you deal with it is crucially important to avoid unnecessary distractions. Take the reports of an EPL team targeting New York Red Bulls center back Aaron Long. The articles are sure to turn a player’s head, but there's no doubt sporting director Denis Hamlett and head coach Chris Armas are actively managing this situation to ensure that everyone remains laser focused on their upcoming matches.
Lucas Melano, Nana Boateng depart
Melano (Portland Timbers) and Boateng (Colorado Rapids) both mutually parted ways with their respective clubs and were on bigger contracts. Bigger contracts moving during the summer window is facilitated by the fact that the transfer window is also open in Europe and other countries like Argentina. When a player knows he can find a club overseas, he is typically more open to agree to a contract termination. Opening up a roster spot and some cap space will surely be welcome news for Padraig Smith (Colorado) and Gavin Wilkinson (Portland).
Adam Braz served as the Technical Director of the Montreal Impact from 2015 to 2018, overseeing soccer operations and managing the MLS club's salary budget, player signings and negotiations among other duties. The former Canadian international moved into the front office after a playing career that saw him feature in USL, MLS and Scandinavia.