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Should the Montreal Impact Sell Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla to Europe?

Assessing the Pros and Cons of the Interest From Europe Over Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla

Tabla playing for the Canadian national team
Tabla playing for the Canadian national team

We now know that Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla has attracted the attention of top teams in Europe. Here is the good and bad from what we know of the situation.

Early Tuesday morning, Peter O’Rourke of wrote that: "Arsenal, Manchester City, and Chelsea are among the clubs tracking Montreal Impact teenager Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla."

TSN 690’s Rick Moffat, who was at Tuesday morning’s Impact practice, later confirmed the news.

The Good:

Tabla’s talent and technical abilities were bound to impress scouts from different parts of the world and it seems like the friendly where Canada’s under 18s beat England’s under 18s 2-1 was the catalyst.

In his first-ever professional club game on April 9, when FC Montreal lost 2-1 to Toronto FC II at Olympic Stadium, Tabla was quite frankly the best player on the pitch. He scored his first professional goal and had that edge. Every time he touched the ball, there was a sense of excitement. What would he do next?

O’Rourke even mentioned Tabla was "regarded as one of the brightest young talents outside of Europe."

Bottom line: Whether Tabla leaves for Europe or not, interest coming from top clubs is essentially a good thing for the Impact. It means that in a way, the club is doing something right in terms of growing players from the academy.

Two years ago, we saw Karl W. Ouimette become the Impact’s first homegrown signing. Will we now witness the team’s first academy player sold overseas?

For the record: This is not necessarily a bad thing for the Impact if this ever happens, especially for their academy. Having big clubs inquiring for your young academy players means that the youth coaches and club systems are good at what they do and by itself will attract more eyes to the club.

The Bad:

Now, in a hypothetical situation where Tabla is sold to a team in the Premier League, leaving Montreal might not be the greatest thing at the moment.

Despite being profiled on the national team at the youth level, he only played one professional game yet. Let’s face it, Tabla has a bright future ahead of him and taking advantage of the current academy system in Montreal would only be beneficial for him.

Since last year, the Impact has the USL and FC Montreal as a platform to let the top academy players play professional soccer. This process makes academy players gain years of experience over the traditional Superdraft process, which would bring in young players to MLS clubs at the age of 22 or 23.

It’s only Tabla’s first professional season, why rush it? The Canadian youth international has the whole USL season to play and the Montreal Impact organization has interest in keeping him with the club for both the bleu-blanc-noir and Tabla’s sake.

Let me explain, moving across the Atlantic despite his obvious talent does not guarantee him starting role minutes with his hypothetical new European club. We have already seen North American players fly to Europe and not get the playing time they deserve. Some will argue: Did any of these players have Tabla’s promise and talent? That’s up for debate.

Tabla is also very young. At 17 years old, you can afford to take the time to assess where you are before taking the final decision to head across the pond.

Patience, grasshopper. If you keep that steady stream of genius with FC Montreal and the Canadian national team, not only will you earn an MLS homegrown contract, but you will also have the opportunity to sign with a European club.

One thing is for sure, the race to see who will be the first FC Montreal player to sign a homegrown contract will be a good one to follow. This will be a very interesting inner competition for FC Montreal in their second USL season.