Every year, it seems, a few marquee stars arrive during Major League Soccer's summer transfer window.
Last season brought about Cristian Pavon, Gustavo Bou and Omar Gonzalez, while Wayne Rooney and Raul Ruidiaz headlined the summer of 2018. The summer is an integral time for clubs to do business globally, with most of the world entering their offseason as MLS gains momentum.
In 2020, everything is going to be different.
Most leagues around the globe are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans everywhere are to resume play at a later date, but with all the uncertainty, no one knows when and what ripple effects it'll have on the transfer market.
"I would be surprised if the transfer window is as active as it was last year," D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen told reporters on a conference call Monday. "That's my guess. I don't know, who knows what it looks like. But are there bargains out there? Because of situations all over the world, are there different players available? I don't know, I don't think anybody knows. ... It's going to be a different summer transfer window than we've seen, that's for sure."
More global clarity may be on the way this week, as The New York Times' Tariq Panja reports that UEFA is virtually meeting with the heads of 55 national associations on Wednesday to discuss competitions, the transfer window and contracts.
With so many question marks, D.C. are focused on the group they have. While the club were reportedly in the market for some reinforcements sooner rather than later before MLS was suspended, that's all on pause.
"A lot of (our transfer plans) are put on hold," Olsen said. "We haven't been too concerned with that right now. We'll continue to look at players that can make our team better when we come back to fill some spots, but things have changed. Our priority is the group we have, making sure they maintain some level of fitness.
"The other part is keeping tabs on the injured guys," Olsen continued. "Usually, we have our experts with them every day to speed up the healing process. That's not the case now. I give our trainers, doctors, sports scientists and fitness coaches a lot of credit as of late. They've been working extremely hard to come up with the right workouts, right treatments."
When the league paused, new signing Federico Higuain was working back from an ACL tear last season and Paul Arriola was beginning his recovery from a torn ACL sustained this preseason. Olsen said their training staff has been blown away by Higuain's work rate and professionalism, then added he was about a month away from returning when they last trained.
Olsen also said the break opens the door for Arriola to potentially return at some point this season.
"There's a little bit of a silver lining for (the injured) guys and they're treating it in that way," Olsen said. "With Paul, who knows? Who knows how long this goes. If we do well enough and the season goes into November, December, does Paul factor into this? I don't know, maybe. It's at least something to shoot for."