FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Just five days away from their debut in MLS at the home of the 2019 Supporters' Shield winners LAFC, Inter Miami showcased the club's star power as co-owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas dropped in to give the latest on the team's preparations in Fort Lauderdale.
As so often with the club, the conversation quickly turned to the potential star power on the field and the fact that one Designated Player spot remains unfilled. But, despite public comments that they intended to have all three DPs in place for Week 1, Miami are more than relaxed about the situation ahead of their MLS bow on Sunday.
“I am not disappointed in any way possible,” Beckham told reporters at the Inter Miami CF Training Complex Tuesday. “Someone turned around to me other day and asked, ‘what would be success for this team?’ For me, on the 14th of March, when we step out to our stadium in front of our fans, for me, that’s success because I know what it has taken to get here.
“We’re more than happy with the squad of players we have got," Beckham continued. "This is exactly where we wanted to be at the start of this season. If we do bring another one or two players in, then great, but I think that we’re looking toward the summer. This is a long-term project. We’re going to be here for many years to come.”
While they remain patient about adding that third DP, Mas left no doubt as to which position the club is targeting.
“We have one open DP spot. It’s going to be geared toward a striker,” Mas said.
Argentine winger Matias Pellegrini and Mexican star Rodolfo Pizarro were signed as Inter Miami’s current DPs. While Pellegrini shows plenty of potential and Pizarro experienced huge success at Monterrey alongside manager Diego Alonso, Miami have also been heavily linked with some of soccer’s biggest names, among them, Edinson Cavani from PSG and Barcelona's Luis Suarez.
“Every one has been expecting a really big name and some from Europe. There’s a possibility that we wait until the summer transfer window, for that ‘nine," added Mas before referencing an injury to young Argentine striker Julian Carranza that is set to keep him on the sidelines for the first two months of the season.
"The injury to Julian Carranza was unexpected, so we need some depth at that position. We do have some options but in all likelihood, our main DP will be in the summer window or we’ll have some type of loan transaction in the short term,” Mas said.
There should, however, be a more immediate boost for Alonso's roster.
“We have been in conversations of bringing in Agustin Almendra from Boca Juniors," revealed Mas. "I do anticipate and expect that that loan will happen and will be completed very, very soon.”
Almendra is a 20-year-old midfielder who falls right in line with the model of Sporting Director Paul McDonough's recruitment strategy, mirroring the preference for young South American talent and experienced domestic players he achieved such success with at Atlanta United.
As Mas said toward the end of his press conference: “This is about winning. This isn’t about just bringing a name for marketing or PR and selling a thousand more jerseys. The objective is to win.”
Diego Alonso and his men will look to do just that as they step onto the field for the club’s inaugural match against LAFC on Sunday (5:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in the US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).