Austin FC, roughly 10 months out from their expansion beginnings in Major League Soccer, are keeping a close eye on the summer transfer window.
While more questions than answers surround that landscape given the COVID-19 pandemic’s global reach, sporting director Claudio Reyna thinks opportunities will be in abundance. They just might not be clear-cut and straightforward.
“There’s absolutely going to be opportunities,” Reyna said in an ESPN interview with Adrian Healey. “The challenge is also that the longer this goes, the more players aren’t playing. You have to take that into account, [since] you’d like to see a player performing to see what level he’s at, to give ... us a better idea of a decision to make. We’d like to see these players playing again at some point in the later part of this year.”
In an ideal world, Austin would soon turn their scouting operations into initial roster pieces ahead of their 2021 launch. Reyna, given his prior role at NYCFC ahead of their 2015 start, knows where to look and what stones to turn over.
However, the world's overall state tosses a wrench into their calculations.
“Certainly there’s going to be a shaking out of the whole transfer market, salaries,” Reyna said. “There will be a trickle-down effect that it’s just bound to happen where rosters are going to be trimmed, salaries are going to be cut, transfer fees. Certain clubs are going to be forced to sell or let players go on transfer fees much lower than probably they thought of before.”
Whichever players do come onboard, they’ll be coached by Josh Wolff, the former D.C. United, Columbus Crew SC and US men’s national team assistant. As Austin pursues multiple roster acquisition avenues, Wolff fully anticipates that opportunities will arise this summer.
The MLS Secondary Transfer Window is currently schedule to run from July 7 – Aug. 5, when the pandemic’s impact could look drastically different.
“As a league, certainly, I think we’ve become much more appealing to international targets, higher-profile players,” Wolff said. “But you also have to be sensitive to what’s happening globally, financially and mindful of that and make sure we’re acting in a responsible way. You want to be resourceful with signings."