So much for FC Cincinnati's roster being set for 2020.
The club came into 2020 with 25 players on the roster and many observers believed there wouldn't be much wiggle room for movement outside of a handful of vacant spots. But GM Gerard Nijkamp is in the midst of making some key moves.
Not only did he make a new Designated Player signing in Japanese forward Yuya Kubo, but he's also chasing PSV Eindhoven playmaker Gaston Pereiro with a decision on the latter front expected any time now.
And while all the attention will be focused on the bigger-name newcomers, three players involved in FC Cincinnati's MLS expansion season will not be with the club in 2020: forward Fanendo Adi, third-string goalkeeper Jimmy Hague and midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma.
There were high expectations for Adi, who only managed one goal in 12 appearances for the club last year. He was placed on waivers along with Hague, who didn't feature in 2019. The Adi move is significant because it opens up one of three Designated Player spots with Kubo and Costa Rican international Allan Cruz occupying the other two.
Ledesma, whose contract option was not exercised for 2020, did not accept a new offer from the club and with the two sides unable to reach an agreement on salary, he announced he would not be returning to Cincinnati.
Thanks for so much love / Gracias por tanto amor. This is my statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/psp6jjPHnh— Emmanuel Ledesma (@LedeManu18) January 17, 2020
The 31-year-old journeyman Argentine was a key figure in the club's final season in USL with 16 goals and 16 assists, but he could not reach those same heights in MLS (6 goals, 5 assists in 26 appearances). Ledesma would have also been looking at less playing time in 2020 with the prospect of 24-year-old Uruguayan Pereiro joining the club.
Outside of FC Cincinnati's search for a playmaker, Nijkamp told Extratime that the team is also in the market for a right winger and a center forward (video above). And they now have two additional international spots to bring in talent from abroad.
Watch this space as the Orange and Blue look to improve on a league-worst 6W-22L-6D record in their 2019 debut season.