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Impact Quiet on Piatti to Banfield

Montreal club remain silent on the flurry of strong rumours surrounding Nacho Piatti’s possible departure...

MLS: Canadian Championship Final-Toronto FC at Montreal Impact
Piatti - Heading the ball, or heading home?
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Still no noise emanating from Florida training camp, or Stade Saputo, on the immediate future of the Impact’s most talismanic player.

The rumour mill was spinning furiously earlier today claiming Piatti’s departure back to Buenos Aires to join Banfield, a struggling Argentinian Superliga club, was but a few days away.

It’s either a case of Montreal Impact managing their announcement of the departure carefully or simply false information, although news outlets like Barcelona-based Don Balon and TyC Sports of Buenos Aires coverage of the story does add credence.

One thing is for sure, the lack of a statement from Montreal Impact will do nothing to quell the rumour and speculation.

One person who can clarify things of course, is the man himself, but again these deals can be delicate, so agents and the interests of each club involved will likely prevent the player from speaking with the press until they are ready, even if he wanted to.

Despite never-ending speculation on Piatti’s future throughout much of his tenure at Montreal, this time there seems to be a realness around the hype. But until an official announcement arrives, or simply doesn’t, he remains a Montreal Impact player despite the stories being run in Argentinian and Spanish press circles.

There’s plenty to suggest why the latest speculation is plausible; Piatti has expressed his desire to return to Argentina, his wife favours remaining there rather than a return to Montreal and the player’s mystery absence at last year’s end of season press-conference to name only three instances.

But as we try to make sense of all of this, it’s also true to say that there’s been plenty of unfounded rumour-mongering in the past, particularly over the past 12 months. You wonder as well if Piatti is willing to relinquish a much healthier salary in Montreal than he could earn in his homeland. 2020 is certain to be his last really big pay-day... but only if he remains in Quebec.

MLS: Canadian Championship Final-Toronto FC at Montreal Impact
Have Impact fans really seen their last Piatti goal celebration or is there more to come?
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

And of course, he’s down in Florida as part of the pre-season training camp, from where Impact fans have not heard encouraging noises from the player upon his return to the squad. For the most part his responses have bordered on the non-committal.

As reported in Journal de Montreal, at the start of camp on January 14, Piatti told the media that he was there because he is under contract with the team.

”I love Montreal. My head is here, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He has however entered into pre-season preparation, playing in the first 45 mins of yesterday’s pre-season victory over DC United. Think what you like about that, but it doesn’t really provide any clues as to what, if anything, is going on in the short-term.

Should Piatti be about to leave, it of course frees up significant salary. At the very least Impact fans deserve the club and player to have managed the situation transparently between themselves allowing the club to already be deeply involved in securing a replacement, or replacements.

I expect much will be revealed over the next few days.

It would be incredibly sad for everyone should Nacho Piatti, after what he’s given to football in Montreal and how he’s thrilled Stade Saputo fans for the best part of 5 years, depart on a sour note without a proper farewell.

He is after all, the greatest player the club has ever had.