This is the seventh and final of a series of personnel management analyses targeting what the Montreal Impact should prioritize over the winter months in preparation for the 2016 season.
Current Depth Chart:
1- Didier Drogba
2- Dominic Oduro
3- Anthony Jackson-Hamel
4- Cameron Porter
5- Romario Williams
6- Kenny Cooper
It says something about how deep Montreal is on the wings when Dominic Oduro is slotted in to the forwards depth chart despite playing the majority of the end of the season on the wing. In general, you can argue that what the Impact lack at the forward position they make up for on the wings.
IMFC are incredibly top-heavy when it comes to their forwards. There is a huge drop off from Didier Drogba to any of the other forwards. I've defended Oduro in the past but also realize his limitations (and that he may be more effective as a winger on the right side) and Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Cameron Porter, and Romario Williams are all unproven at best. In the case of Kenny Cooper, we're not sure whether or not his contract even extends into next year or if he and/or the team are interested in having him back at his large cap hit. It's for the fact that I don't expect Cooper to play another game with the Bleu-Blanc-Noir that he finds himself at the bottom of the depth chart.
Let's not forget that Drogba's contract is over at the end of next season. This means that the Impact management should have a contingency plan regarding who will lead the attack in 2017. I was shocked to see how fast Jack McInerney was shipped out and what the return was. The only way this would have made sense is if the Impact were up against the cap when Drogba was acquired and McInerney's attitude was as bad as Frank Klopas made us believe. Drafting and/or waiver transfers won't get you top end talent right away, so the Impact might have to look abroad for a high-quality forward. That being said, it's proven relatively easy in MLS to add a DP striker over the off-season.
Recommendation: Remove Cooper from the roster in order to make cap room. Add one more forward who can sit behind Oduro in the depth chart but in front of the younger players to give them more time to develop. The new forward should be young and have a high talent ceiling even if he isn't quite there yet. A loan-to-buy option from South or Central America seems like a good option - this will reduce the risk if he doesn't work out.
(GK) Eric Kronberg
(RB) Ambroise Oyongo
(CDM) Nigel Reo-Coker
(CM) Eric Alexander*
(F) Kenny Cooper
(LW/RW) Romero or Mapp or Venegas or Duka or Oduro via trade
(GK) Second/third Goalkeeper
(CB) Buy Victor Cabrera and/or acquire an international CB for depth
(RB) North-American Full-Back currently in MLS
(CM) North-American Central Midfielder currently in MLS*
(CAM) DP Central Attacking Midfielder
(F) Young International Loan-to-Buy Option F
* Asterisk denotes moves that are contingent on each other. Adding another central midfielder isn't necessary if the team believes that Eric Alexander can do the work there.
Thank you for checking in every day over the past week as we examined the wants and needs of the Montreal Impact over the 2015-2016 off-season.