The Impact made noise during the weekend trading away their two top ten draft picks and announcing major signings. Prior to the draft there was a lot of debate on what could be expected from the Impact during the draft, given that they had two picks in the top ten; some suspected they may trade away one of their picks. A lot of rumors involving quite a few players that were being looked in to by the Impact have been coming out in the past few weeks. The Impact took matters into their own hands during the draft and revealed a few upcoming signatures.
During the first draft day, the Impact went one step further than the expectations and traded away both their picks for general and targeted allocation money. Garde did although use this opportunity to pass a message to the youth of the academy; displaying again his trust in the system. Garde explained that he wants to give a chance to the talent that is pretty much at the same level as the draft class and that the academy players need to seize this opportunity being handed to them.
Furthermore, Adam Braz revealed that the Impact were on the verge of signing and announcing the arrivals of Chilean forward Jeisson Vargas and midfielder Saphir Taider. Both players are coming here and bring different benefits to the team. Jeisson Vargas has decent pace and dribbling. While his defensively abilities are not as developped he could relieve some pressure off of Piatti. Now as for Saphir Taider, he is the stability in the middle of the field that was needed with the departures of key players like Dzemaili and Bernier. Taider can control the play, has a great passing percentage (91.6%) and contributes defensively; he is that box to box midfielder.
The off day of the draft was not an off day for the Impact; they announced the signing of centerback Zakaria Diallo. At 31 years of age, Zakaria does not necessarily match the youth movement that has been happening since the arrival of Garde but he does install some stability. Zakaria is a very decent pick up for the Impact, strong on aerial duels (a major weakness of the Impact in the past few seasons) and strong in his distribution/control of the ball.
On the final day of the draft the Impact made their only pick of the draft. Midfielder Ken Krolicki was selected 7th in the 3rd round (53rd overall). Ken Krolicki might be a gem that comes out of the late round draft picks. He is in a similar style as Salazar, plays hard and does not try anything too fancy. He’s the type of guy that gives his all on the field. Prior to the combine many placed him in the top 20 but he did not play as well as expected during the combine and he fell in the standings as a result. It will be interesting to see what the Impact does with him; it is very likely that he will spend some time in Ottawa to allow him to develop more thoroughly.
A little extra after an interesting weekend. On the same wave length as their weekend of trading and signings the Impact announced that they were going to hold a press conference to welcome their new designated player, Saphir Taider. Taider being a young designated player at a position where the Impact has barely no depth, immediately became a key player. During the press conference, it was revealed that a major reason for Taider’s choice to come play in Montreal was because of Rémi Garde. He also mentioned that it was a good thing for that the city has a large Algerian population and that french is one of the main languages. Taider also mentioned that he had an exchange with Blerim who had nothing but good to say about the city and team. Taider has yet to win a championship and has every intention to win one with the Impact.
Prior to the press conference they made the signing of Vargas official. Garde seems very hopeful that Vargas can implement his possession philosophy. Vargas also answers some of the worries for offensive production; given that much of the focus during the offseason was drawn to stabilizing the defense. His tumultuous past will hopefully stay in the past, he is a player with a lot of talent that has harmed his career because of his actions off the pitch. Given that he seems to have this under control he can make a career for himself with the Impact and hopefully one that leaves a positive and lasting memory in the mind of Impact fans.
All in all within just a few days the Impact went from very worried fans to fans with a glimmer of hope. With training camp and pre-season starting up it will be interesting to see the type of play the team can bring to the table. Installing a chemistry and cohesion will be very important because many new players will need to establish themselves and young players will need to step up. It will be a very important in the next few weeks for these young players to step up because they all have a chance to make their place in the 18. The Impact does have a few spots left in their roster and said they are still looking into filling some needs. Adam Braz also revealed that the club is interested in signing a third designated player but they will likely keep that space open for the summer transfer window.