Reggie Cannon's transfer from FC Dallas to Portuguese club Boavista is as much about the future as it is the present.
Cannon, who came up through the Dallas academy before excelling in the first team and rising to become a US men's national team regular, moved to Boavista this summer for a reported total package of $3.5 million while FC Dallas will retain a sell-on percentage. That type of clause is already the norm in global soccer, but there's also a unique wrinkle to that in Cannon's transfer.
If Boavista transfer Cannon to Lille, Dallas can keep their sell-on percentage if they so choose. Essentially, Dallas are already thinking two transfers ahead while also underpinning the likelihood Cannon ends up at LOSC Lille alongside Tim Weah, Jonathan David and other rising talents.
“The relationship between Boavista and Lille — I spoke a lot with the sporting director with Lille during the negotiations," Dallas technical director Andre Zanotta told MLSsoccer.com. "And we can keep our percentage in him at Lille. If [Cannon is] transferred from Boavista to Lille, we can keep our percentage in him. Lille can sell players for a lot more money than Boavista. If he goes to Lille, and I know that's the plan, to go to Lille after one season. If he goes and does well, maybe then he’s transferred from Lille to another club. That’d be huge for us.”
Lille owner Gerard Lopez acquired a controlling stake in Boavista this summer. Lille qualified for the Europa League this season after finishing 4th in France's Ligue 1 last year and have had a strong track record of developing and transferring young players to even bigger teams in Europe. They have sent players to Napoli, Arsenal, AC Milan and more over the last few years.
Cannon has already assimilated into the Boavista starting XI, playing the full 90 minutes over the club's first two league games, though they've picked up just one point over those two games.
“We’re happy Reggie has his opportunity in Europe, we’re certain he’s going to do well," Zanotta said. "We’re very confident Boavista is just the first step for Reggie in Europe. He has enough talent, and the mentality, to go to top clubs and top leagues in Europe.”
It was widely reported and expected Cannon would make his move to Europe this summer. Dallas were ready and prepared. Fellow Homegrown right back Bryan Reynolds has stepped right up.
Reynolds, 19, has started five of the last six Dallas matches and has earned plaudits from across the league and those at his own club.
“I’m a big fan of Bryan," Zanotta said. "Since I got here, I’ve watched him grow and get better in training. He works really hard and he’s very loyal to this club. We felt if Reggie is transferred, we would have one of our Homegrown players step up. I don’t like to compare. Reggie is Reggie and Reynolds is Reynolds, but Reynolds has the ability to be our right back. For me, he’s shown this since Luchi [Gonzalez] put him in the lineup. He’s helping us a lot and he’s only 19. I believe he has a very high ceiling.”
Reynolds officially signed a long-term contract extension last week, showing the club's belief in him. Zanotta added that the contract extension had long been in the works, rather than an immediate reaction to Cannon's departure.
“We trust Reynolds is the future here, just like a lot of our other talented youngsters," Zanotta said. "We knew when Reynolds’ moment came, he’d grab the opportunity and would do what he’s doing now. How good he’s playing is not a surprise to me nor the coaching staff.”
The Cannon deal was a big move in a surprisingly busy summer for Dallas. Cannon and forward Zdenek Ondrasek were transferred out, Jesse Gonzalez had his contract terminated while forward Franco Jara, goalkeeper Phelipe Megiolaro and midfielder Andres Ricaurte joined.
It looks like Dallas' roster is set for a postseason push. FCD are currently tied for third place in the Western Conference as the stretch run of this most unique of seasons continues.
“My job is to give Luchi a headache, bringing in more players than we need in different positions," Zanotta said. "It’s a good competition for us. If one player can’t play, we’ll have someone step up. I’m happy with the squad right now, I don’t feel like we’re adding any new players this window. Just hoping we can keep playing well to guarantee a spot in the playoffs.”