The Montreal Impact has confirmed that it is close to signing 21-year-old Uruguayan striker Santiago Gonzalez. After speculation on whether the young striker would be a designated player or not, the club has confirmed that Gonzalez will be signed as a " special discovery signing".
Another MLS player-acquisition mechanism takes form and shows itself to the world and we are wondering what it means exactly. Colleagues have done an excellent job of explaining this and getting as much information as possible.
First, Olivier Tremblay, Impact beat reporter for MLSSoccer.com, writes here that
The little-known Special Discovery rule is not a new one, said De Santis, who cited Real Salt Lake's acquisition of Olmes García in 2013 as an example of its application.
Olivier gets excellent quotes from Sporting Director Nick De Santis who gives more details on Gonzalez's case
It means that the league acquires a young player and that the contract is amortized [over several seasons] so the player's cap hit reaches between $125,000 and $150,000, give or take. That helps the team a lot. Those are young players with experience.
At least we officially know that the league assists other teams than the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC to help them have an impact on the pitch, pun intended. But joking aside, the capacity of the league to help MLS clubs to acquire young offensive talent is important. It is so important that the Impact is able to add a potentially important player to its squad while staying cap-friendly.
Frederic lord, the voice of the Impact on TVA Sports, adds on his blog that
En fait, ce poste de "découvertes spéciales" est ouvert depuis près d'un an en championnat. Pour se prévaloir de celui-ci, le joueur recruté doit remplir, en gros, deux critères : être jeune et jouer en avant.
Ce "nouvel argent" dans les coffres de la MLS provient de la vente de 25% de parts de Soccer United Marketing (SUM), le bras promotionnel de la ligue qui aurait rapporté entre 125 et 150 millions américains.
Ailleurs dans la ligue, le Rapids du Colorado se serait prévalu de cette option pour embaucher le panaméen Gabriel Torres.
Lord reminds us that the " Discovery Signing" tool has been available for almost a year in MLS and has two criterias for it to be used: be a young player and play upfront (forward). The source of that money would come from 25% of the sale of Soccer United Marketing.
Frederic Lord's piece is a must-read even if you need google translate to do so.
A bit like Maximiliano Urruti did with Toronto FC, at least the Reds tried, Gonzalez will benefit from getting proper compensation while the club enjoys cap flexibility. That flexibility will help the Impact get a third designated player in the summer. That could happen even earlier if Nick De Santis' trips to Argentina yield a bonified offensive midfielder.
Until then, Santiago Gonzalez is in Montreal and will travel with the team to Orlando for the 2014 Disney Pro Classic. Frank Klopas will probably insert him as soon as possible, if his fitness level permits. Formation talks, combinations and internal competition should be the theme of the pre-season tournament for the Montreal Impact.