Heard the one about the duck and the football team? Not the joke, the analogy. The duck glides effortlessly along the surface while out of sight, its feet paddle furiously to maintain the illusion. These off-season days at Montreal Impact I suspect, are much the same, especially for Sporting Director, Olivier Renard.
We’re not hearing much above water-level, but I’d be guessing there’s much going on.
One significant piece of business concluded yesterday was the re-signing of Samuel Piette, the player committing to another three years with the club, plus an option for 2023.
”We are very happy, like him, to have concluded this agreement which demonstrates mutual respect, because there was an interest on both sides to come to this conclusion,” said the sporting director of the. Impact, Olivier Renard, Wednesday, in a press release.
“We wanted Samuel to stay with the club and I want to thank him for trusting our project. He can continue to contribute on and off the pitch. ”
Piette is more that just a footballer with Montreal Impact. The natural plating successor to ‘local hero’ Patrice Bernier, his role has taken on ambassadorial responsibilities. He really is the local face of the club.
”My main goal was to stay in Montreal,” said Piette during a press briefing at the Nutrilait Center on Wednesday afternoon. “For that, I am satisfied.”
Piette holds dear to himself family values, including the opportunity to have dinner at home regularly and spend time with friends.
While discussions between him and the club were respectful and already fairly concrete he suggested interest from other clubs - one reputed to be Vancouver Whitecaps - both inside and outside MLS was something that motivated the Impact to ‘conclude something’.
On his new deal possibly extending to four years, Piette said, ”It was one of my conditions to have years guaranteed here in Montreal and to know that my future was secure in the long term.”
Renard will be happy to get this one done and dusted, the file closed and on to other important business, for there are holes aplenty in a playing squad in need of reinforcement.
There’s also the matter of Nacho Piatti. Does the mutually loud silence coming from the club captain and the organization in the face of much rumour and speculation, mean it’s simply as you were? In other words, the best best player ever to represent the Impact will be back for January training camp?
Is this why neither feel compelled to react to the noise coming mainly from the press in Buenos Aires, where they have ample pages to populate?
If that’s the case, then Renard must now be concentrating on shoring up his defence and adding midfield talent. So far, at the back there’s only Raitala, Camacho and Fanni, although the relatively inexperienced Kinumbe and Bayiha may offer cover. The even more inexperienced Karifa Yao, yet to start a match, is a further consideration and Cuban Jorge Corrales could also remain in the picture. However as in midfield, the defensive contingent needs strengthening.
It’s fairly sound to assume a ‘name’ player will not be amongst any new arrivals. Olivier Renard’s forte is in finding relatively unknown yet talented players, allowing them to flourish and develop, improving the team as a whole, then selling on for significant profit which can be ploughed back into the organization.
Don’t expect a Didier Drogba or an Alessandro Nesta. That’s not where smooth and busy, modern-day, Montreal Impact are headed.
A few interesting, unfamiliar, names would certainly whet the appetite however.