It’s all about posturing and negotiation.
Ignacio Piatti has for long enough maintained this would be his last season in Montreal, and looks determined to stick to that plan. It seems clear his intention is to have his career swan-song in his home country.
And who could deny him that? A player who has given so much to Montreal Impact, and one that has thrilled crowds and lifted people out of their seats, since he arrived here in 2014.
Except there’s a contract, which offers Montreal Impact the option of a further year, taking the union between player and club out to the end of 2020.
But contracts have been broken as long has professional soccer has been played, with negotiation and compensation never that far away.
With the player’s intentions seemingly well-known, and at least two of his former Argentinian clubs keen to bring him home, Kevin Gilmore’s tweet yesterday sends a clear message.
Perhaps Independiente or San Lorenzo thought the Impact would be easy to deal with, but clearly neither have met the Montreal-based club’s demands. The message Gilmore’s tweet portrays is that, ‘we wanted and expected Nacho to be with the Impact until the end of 2020, so any move before that time will need to be adequately compensated for.’
It’s not wrong, or even hard-nosed. It’s simply the Impact protecting its interests.
So there appears to be an impasse. Unless a club comes in with an offer for Piatti which Mr Gilmore finds acceptable, the Argentinian will remain an Impact player, but what if such an offer does not materialize?
Do the Impact retain a potentially disgruntled asset, who wants to be elsewhere, one who not only takes up a foreign player spot, but a significant chunk of salary?
Another variable is the player’s fitness. Nothing wrong with Piatti’s commitment or how he takes care of his body, but he’s not in his early twenties any longer, and injuries which keep a player out for a lengthy period later on in their career, as we have witnessed in 2019, don’t heal so quickly, or God forbid, not at all.
So how will all of this work out?
A player generally gets his way in this type of situation. But it depends how badly Piatti’s Argentinian suitors want him.
The likely scenario to play out is one where Piatti remains in Montreal until the end of 2019, hopefully helping the Impact through one more Play-off campaign. That’s provided the money is right between the clubs (Piatti personally, looks willing to take a drop in salary to move to Argentina) and the buying club is convinced about his fitness.
It’s probably the best outcome all round. Nacho gets his wish to end his career where his family lives, Impact fans get possibly three months in which to pay final homage (fitness permitting), and Montreal Impact receive fair compensation for losing their greatest-ever player earlier than expected.
It would be horrible for the Impact-Piatti relationship to end on a sour note. Both parties (and the fans) deserve an amicable conclusion. But not at any price.