This is the fifth of a series of personnel management analyses targeting what the Montreal Impact should prioritize over the winter months in preparation for the 2016 season. Check in for an update every day organized by position.
Current Depth Chart:
OK, not literally nobody. Of course Ignacio Piatti could fit here, but if it wasn't obvious enough when he arrived here in mid-2014, Piatti is significantly more dangerous on the left side of the midfield. Similarly, Andres Romero could be forced into this role as he has experience as a forward. The same could be said about Dilly Duka who's played in the central midfield before - and successfully, no less!
But if we are going to be realistic about the needs of the team this off-season, then we have to admit that the greatest needs are to 1) put Ignacio Piatti in a position for him to succeed and 2) provide secondary scoring for both him and Didier Drogba. Piatti clearly feels more comfortable on the left side where he has less defensive responsibility and more room to dribble at defenders. Of course this would leave a gap where he (and Felipe) used to play. Drogba is, for lack of a better word, prolific. But he could be even more effective with the help of a dangerous offensive attacking midfielder to take some of the defensive concentration off of him.
Enter the Impact's third and final designated player. When rumors surfaced sending Alberto Aquilani to the Impact from Europe, Impact fans everywhere knew that was exactly what the team needed. As we now know the rumors were likely fabricated with no real basis. However, the point is that the Impact need a player like Aquilani, not necessarily Aquilani himself. In MLS, DP slots should be used on forwards and the spine of the midfield, and the Impact need a dynamic, offensively threatening central attacking midfielder.
Recommendation: Use the money saved from any plausible combination of the Reo-Coker, Kronberg, Oyongo (and probably Kenny Cooper) contracts to free up enough cap room (assuming IMFC are even at the cap) to insert a third DP to play as an attacking central midfielder for 90 minutes per game, every game. In 2015 the cap hit for DP's was $436,250. These four players combined make $792,625. So that means that these four players combined can be turned into one more DP on the cap + $356,375 to add a low-cost backup goalkeeper, and some decent depth to both the full-back position and forward position.
Check back into MountRoyalSoccer.com tomorrow for an analysis of the Impact's needs/wants at the winger position over the off-season and the day after that for the final article regarding the forwards.
Update: I wish I had had this article...
when writing these analyses. It gives us a little more insight into contract situations.