Miami, Fla. (Monday, July 22, 2019 – by Kenneth Russo
After playing 70 minutes and scoring a goal for Estudiantes de La Plata this past Saturday in their 2-0 win over Club Mitre in the Copa Argentina (Twitter @copaargentina), Matías Pellegrini and his representative Gustavo Ghezzi flew to Miami yesterday, according to El Día in Argentina.
Today, he will have a medical exam and meet with Jorge Más and Inter Miami team officials to finalize his contract. The self-described “lightning trip” is because “Mati” intends to be able to play for Estudiantes’ this coming Sunday in the first game of the 2019 Argentina Superliga (La Primera División) versus Aldosivi. “No me voy a perder ningún partido.” – “I’m not going to miss a single game,” the young midfielder assured the media. Pellegrini’s transfer is reportedly in the $9 to $10 million range, with performance incentives structured into the deal.
Once officially an Inter player, the plan is for him to remain with Estudiantes on loan until the end of the year, which means he can complete the revised Argentine Superliga calendar prior to joining Club Internacional de Fútbol for training camp in early 2020.
According to various Argentine media outlets, Inter Miami is simultaneously working on a $6 million deal for 19-year-old Club Atlético Banfield forward Julián Carranza, who would also stay with his club through the end of the year and report to Inter Miami sometime between January and March 2020. Carranza has reportedly already been to Miami and taken his medical exam, which was described as “demanding.”
When asked about the status of negotiations for Inter’s first players, Sporting Director Paul McDonough told The Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman:
McDonough, who is in charge of building the roster and leading the team’s on-field soccer operations, also told Kaufman that the negotiations are complicated because some players require to be moved to another club on loan in order to continue to play during the next six months. With that come the finances that have to be also ironed out. Most often, players who are loaned out have their wages paid by the team that they are loaned to. However, in the end it’s about what the parties agree to. More importantly, Inter Miami must also work within the confines of MLS’ salary budget universe, where each player is assigned a “Salary Budget Charge,” the maximum being $530,000. There is also a limit of up to three “Designated Players,” whose total salary and acquisition costs exceed the maximum salary budget charge. Assembling the type of team that will electrify fans and get attention in Miami will require skillful handling of these considerations.
“We are in contract negotiations with up to six or seven players, heavily involved in that right now, with all levels of guys,” McDonough said. “We will have announcements coming soon. We’re close. We’d like to have between four and eight signed by September.”
Miami is in contract negotiations with six or seven players, and the first couple could be signed by July 31, according to McDonough.
McDonough is a proven expert at working out these nuances though, and it won’t be long before fans of the Rosanegra have real players to follow.
Transfers, Transactions, and Reports for the second day of the MLS Secondary Transfer Window:
Toronto Football Club
Toronto FC has been active in preparing for MLS’ Secondary Transfer Window by announcing the signing of Zamora F.C. (Venezuela Primera División) winger Erickson Gallardo, via the use of Targeted Allocation Money. Gallardo, 22, will be eligible to play this weekend as the Reds take on the Impact de Montréal at Stade Saputo, a/k/a “Le Classique Canadien” for those in Québec, subject to receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”).
After making his debut in 2014, Gallardo has made 116 combined appearances for Zamora F.C. In the past three seasons, he made a total of 91 appearances (64 starts) and recorded 10 goals and 19 assists. Gallardo was part of Zamora’s last three league championships in 2015, 2016 and 2018. In the second leg of the 2018 Apertura Final, he scored the winning goal.
“Erickson is a talented attacking player that will improve our team. He has good character and is excited to earn the respect of his teammates, meet our great fans, and he and his wife are looking forward to settling into the City of Toronto,” TFC General Manager Ali Curtis said. “He has speed, can shift directions quickly and can open up the game for himself and others. Mid-season can sometimes be challenging to step into a new team, particularly for young, international players. With that said, we’re excited to get him going because we believe he can make an impact now, and in the future.”
He won his only senior cap with the Venezuela National Team in a June friendly draw against Ecuador.
Back on June 3, TFC made another key move by also acquiring U.S. International defender Omar Gonzalez on a transfer from Atlas Fútbol Club (Guadalajara) of Liga MX.
Toronto used its first-placeposition in the allocation ranking to sign Gonzalez using TAM (Targeted Allocation Money), subject to Gonzalez passing a medical exam, as well as the receipt of his ITC. He will then be eligible for the roster on July 9 when the transfer window re-opens.
Gonzalez, 30, was in his first season with Atlas, having made 36 appearances with two goals since joining the squad in July 2018.
“Adding Omar will improve our team. He is a great competitor that will approach every training session and match with a high level of intensity. He’ll also be able to add a greater presence in the air for us, both offensively and defensively. And, while he has won numerous trophies during his career on the club and international level, he is hungry to be part of championship team in Toronto,” said Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis. “We were looking for a very specific profile of player. Omar’s a good guy. He will fit in well with the group, and he will be a welcome addition to the locker room and daily environment.”
Gonzalez began his professional career after being selected third overall by LA Galaxy in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. In seven seasons with the Galaxy, Gonzalez made 223 combined appearances (MLS, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, Concacaf Champions League) with 17 goals and 13 assists. With the Galaxy, he won three MLS Cups (2011, 2012, 2014), two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011), was named to the MLS Best XI four times (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) along with MLS Defender of the Year (2011) and MLS Rookie of the Year (2009).
In December 2015, Gonzalez was sold and signed with C.F. Pachuca (Pachuca) of Liga MX. While with Pachuca, he made 87 combined appearances with three goals and four assists. Gonzalez won three trophies with Pachuca including, the Clausura Liga MX championship (2016), 2016 Liga MX championship and the 2016-17 Concacaf Champions League.
Gonzalez has earned 49 caps for the U.S. Men’s National team. He was part of the U.S. 2013 and 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup winning sides; and the roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. His most recent cap came on March 27, 2019 in a 1-1 friendly match against Chile. Gonzalez was recently on the U.S. squad for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Greg gave me a clear picture of what the team is like, where he sees the team going and where I can fit into that picture. He sold me on coming here,” said Gonzalez. “Wherever you want me to play, I’ll do it. I’ll play my role; team comes first. On the left, on the right, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got to step up; do what I’ve got to do to help the team get wins.”
The addition of Gallardo, as well as defender Omar Gonzalez (who signed with TFC on June 3), gives Manager Greg Vanney the type of players that were much-needed – a pure winger and a big defender.
New England Revolution
Longtime dormant in the transfer marketplace, the decision to hire Bruce Arena as the sporting director and head coach in May came with it a pledge that he would have the latitude to invest in the roster. A veteran coach of Arena’s caliber would certainly not be interested in taking the job and continuing the club’s low-budget, penny-pinching (aka cheap) mentality.
That pledge turned into reality Wednesday, as the Revs announced the signing of Gustavo Bou as a Designated Player from Club Tijuana of Liga MX. It is reported that New England has paid a club-record transfer fee ($6-7 million USD) to acquire the Argentine striker.
The forward, who is nicknamed ‘La Pantera’, was the most expensive signing in the ten-year history of the Xolos. His professional career spans 12 seasons in the first divisions of Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico. He has scored 85 goals with River Plate, Olimpo de Bahía Blanca, Liga de Quito, Gimnasia de La Plata, Racing Club y Xolos de Tijuana.
“He’s an experienced player,” said Arena. “He’s going to help generate attacking chances for us – whether that’s scoring goals or setting goals up or moving in the right spots to help others. He’s a player with a lot of experience, a lot of quality, and a real good track record.”
Bou, 29 years old, brings knowledge and vast on-field experience to the Revolution squad. His reputation is that of a creative player who has demonstrated an ability to play across the attacking front four, but who is most comfortable on the left wing. “In a pinch he can play the number nine position – which he’s really not natural – and he can play the 10, he can play the seven, the 11,” said Arena. “He can play a bunch of spots. Positions close to goal is where he needs to play.”
Bou has been in form recently, with seven goals and two assists in his final six games with Tijuana, and has scored at least once in all six of those contests. He ranked in the top five league-wide in both goals (10) and assists (five) in Liga MX’s 2019 Torneo Clausura.
Bou will be available for the Revolution pending completion of his medical exam, and receipt of a P-1 Visa and his ITC.
Atlanta United made their sixth Homegrown Signing in club history on Tuesday, announcing that 18-year-old defender George Campbell has been signed to a homegrown contract, effective January 1, 2020. Born in Chester, PA, Campbell joined the Atlanta United academy in 2016-17.
“George has shown remarkable progress at each step in his development and he’s earned a professional contract with our club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “As a member of our inaugural Academy teams in 2016, he’s worked hard to utilize the club’s pathway to the professional level, highlighted by his form in USL this season – most of which came before his 18th birthday.”
He’s spent a majority of the 2019 season with USL affiliate Atlanta United II, where he has 11 appearances. Campbell was named Man of the Match on his professional debut back in March, and has been one of the team’s top performers defensively.
Sporting Kansas City
Report: Sporting KC linked with Portuguese wing back Luis Martins
Sporting KC is hoping to make a few moves during the secondary transfer window and reportedly has been linked in serious discussions with one player so far.
According to the Kansas City Star, SKC is interested in Portuguese left back Luis Martins..
Martins was most recently with Portuguese side Chaves, where he joined in 2018. Chaves struggled in Liga NOS (Primeira Liga), Portugal’s top division, finishing in 16th place on 32 points and were relegated to the second division. Martins played in 15 of Chaves’ 34 league games, scoring one goal and playing another six games in Taça do Portugal competitions for Chaves this year. With their relegation this year, Martins and Chaves mutually agreed to terminate his contract with the club, effective June 30, 2019, which makes Martins available for Kansas City to sign on a free transfer.
Martin has also spent time with Benfica and Gil Vicente in Portugal and Spanish side Granada CF while appearing for Osasuna and Maritimo on-loans.
His arrival to SKC would give Peter Vermes another option in defense as the team is without several players due to injury. The club is recently coming off a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
In order to sign Martins, Sporting Kansas City would need to acquire an international roster spot, which they can do via a trade with another MLS club.
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami
It was previously reported here that Inter Miami CF have been linked with two Argentine players, Julián Carranza and Matías Pellegrini, and that deals to transfer these two players have been reached. While there is no word from Inter yet, based on what has been said about the timing of the first player announcement, we should hear something during this secondary transfer window.
Any players who are transferring to Miami during this window would likely be loaned out until the end of the year. (If the reports about Carranza and Pellegrini are correct, those players could be loaned back to their clubs in Argentina or elsewhere for the fall. As an aside, the Superliga Argentina will have a new format for 2019-20 , with 24 teams playing a 23-week season starting in July 2019 and ending in December. The second half of the year, January to May, will be set aside for the Copa de la Superliga.
“We’ll definitely have players signed by the summer,” Sporting Director Paul McDonough said, without getting into further details or a more specific timeline for their first player. “I want to make it a surprise.”
Los Angeles Football Club
Defender Niko Hämäläinen returns to Queens Park Rangers
Finnish-American fullback Niko Hämäläinen has left Los Angeles Football Club due to the conclusion of his loan with the MLS club.
Hämäläinen was loaned by the London-based English Championship (2nd Division) club in February 2019 on a six month term. His loan was not extended by LAFC. During his time in the City of the Angels, the 22-year-old made three appearances, including one start.
“We would like to thank Niko for his contributions to our Club during the first half of the season, and wish him great success moving forward,” said EVP & General Manager John Thorrington.
A former member of the FC Dallas academy, Hämäläinen joined Queens Park back in 2014 but has only made three league appearances for the club to date. QPR had also previously loaned Hämäläinen to Dagenham & Redbridge on a short-term loan in 2015..
The following transactions were negotiated in advance of the opening of the 2019 Major League Soccer’s Secondary Transfer Window (July 9- August 7, 2019):
Columbus Crew SC
Acquired Costa Rican winger Luis Diaz from Herediano as a Young Designated Player. According to Jacob Myers of the Columbus Dispatch, the Crew paid a transfer fee of $1 million.
Signed 30-year old Curaçao National Team goalkeeper Eloy Room. The Black & Gold officially announced the move last Friday and Room will be officially added to the roster once the summer transfer window opens today (July 9.)
“We are excited to have a player as experienced and proven as Eloy join Columbus Crew SC,” Crew president Tim Bezbatchenko said. “Eloy is a talented goalkeeper whose leadership and shot-stopping ability will help strengthen our Club. We believe Eloy’s background competing at the European and international level will allow him to contribute to Crew SC immediately.”
Room most recently played for PSV Eindhoven from 2017-19 but was out of contract. He was a part of the 2017-18 Eredivisie championship side that qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Prior to joining PSV, Room played for SBV Vitesse of the Eredivisie from 2008-17 and spent the 2013-14 season on loan with the Go Ahead Eagles in Holland. Room made 169 appearances, 159 starts in the Dutch First Division.
He started 20 games in the KNVB Cup and played twice in the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers. The goalkeeper was an important member of the KNVB Cup winners in the 2016-17 season with Vitesse. During the run to the title, Room played in every match, helping Vitesse win its first KNVB Cup in 125 years.
Room’s should be a familiar name to those who followed the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Room started all four matches of the tournament for Curaçao, including the 1-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals. The goalkeeper made 26 saves in a surprising four-game run. Overall, Room has earned 30 caps for the Curaçao National Team, including nine clean sheets. He also featured internationally for the Netherlands at the Under-20 level.
Room’s addition to the Crew roster will be part of the plan to bolster the goalkeeper position after U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Zack Steffen was sold to Manchester City of the English Premier League in the offseason for a record fee. Steffen won the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award. Steffen made his final appearance for Columbus in 2-2 draw with New York City FC on June 1.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Reached a deal to make Iraqi left-back Ali Adnan‘s loan a permanent move from Serie A Club Udinese.
The multi-million dollar transaction sets a new record for the fullback position. Although the exact figure is unknown, it is thought that the the transfer fee is somewhere in the vicinity of $2-2.5 Million USD. The new contract runs through the end of the 2021 season, with an option for 2022. Adnan will now occupy a Designated Player slot for Vancouver. He was unable to feature for the club last weekend due to a gap in his initial loan expiring on June 30th and the transfer window opening today, at which point he is now once again eligible.
Part of what made the Ali Adnan move possible was the “buying down” of Joaquin Ardaiz’s Young Designated Player contract,which freed up a Designated Player Spot that the Whitecaps could then use on Adnan.
“Ali has been a great addition to our club since arriving in March” said Marc Dos Santos “He understands our defensive principles and has an incredible ability to join the attack, create in the last third, which is very important for teams that want to have an impact offensively using their fullbacks.”
Acquired centre-back Maikel van der Werff.
Van der Werfff was acquired using Targeted Allocation Money (“TAM”). He will be added to the active roster pending the receipt of his P1-Visa and International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) when the Secondary Transfer Window opens today (July 9th).
Van der Werff, 30, spent the last seven seasons in the Netherlands’ Eredivisie with Vitesse (2015-19) and PEC Zwolle (2013-15). In the recently concluded 2018-19 season, van der Werff made 30 appearances for Vitesse across all competitions, where he scored four goals and added four assists. He has captured two Dutch Cups, one Johan Cruyff Shield and most recently wore the captain’s armband for Vitesse for parts of the 2018-19 season. A native of Hoorn, Netherlands, van der Werff will occupy an international roster spot on FC Cincinnati’s roster.
“We are pleased to be able to add a quality player and we’d like to welcome Maikel to FC Cincinnati,” FC Cincinnati General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “He brings a high level of experience and leadership to our backline and will be an excellent addition as we solidify our style of play. We look forward to integrating Maikel with our current group and eagerly anticipate his future as an FC Cincinnati player.”
“I’m very happy and proud with this move to FC Cincinnati,” van der Werff said. “I was able to visit for the match against the LA Galaxy and the atmosphere was great. I’m looking forward to playing and being part of this team.”
Van der Werff has a combined 247 first-team appearances, including 207 starts, during the course of his 11 professional seasons in the Netherlands. He has scored 23 goals and added 19 assists across all competitions with Vitesse, PEC Zwolle and Dutch second-tier side FC Volendam (2008-13).
Acquired Ghanian winger Edwin Gyasi.
Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia agreed to loan winger Edwin Gyasi to FC Dallas with an option to buy for the MLS side. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to Ghanaian parents, the Ghanaian midfielder has 5 caps for the Ghana National Team. He made his senior debut for the Black Stars on Sept. 5, 2017, and scored his first international goal in a World Cup Qualifier versus Egypt on Nov. 12, 2017.
Gyasi, 27, has played for De Graafschap, FC Twente, Roda JC, and Aalesund as well as other clubs during his career prior to joining CSKA Sofia. Gyasi played more than 50 games for Sofia, scoring 6 goals and adding 10 assists.
FC Dallas used Targeted Allocation Money (“TAM”) to complete the loan deal. He will be eligible to add to Dallas’ roster pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.
Atlanta United FC
Signed former US youth national team star Emerson Hyndman.
Atlanta signed former US youth national team star Emerson Hyndman on a loan from AFC Bournemouth of the English Premier League. Atlanta has the option to purchase at the end of this season.
Hyndman was part of the FC Dallas Youth Academy. Atlanta acquired Hyndman’s Discovery Rights from Dallas in exchange for an international roster slot in 2019 and 2020 and $200,000 in General Allocation Money.
The 23-year-old began his professional career with Fulham Football Club in 2014 and played two seasons in London with the English Championship side before moving up to the Premier League with Bournemouth in 2016. However, his career with the Cherries never materialized and he played in just eight games for the club.
Hyndman was loaned by Bournemouth to Glasgow Rangers in 2016-17 and Hibernian in 2018-19, playing a total of 36 games in Scotland, with five goals and four assists.
Hyndman has two appearances for the U.S. men’s national team.
“We’re excited to bring a talented young player like Emerson in to bolster our midfield,” club vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a prepared statement. “In addition to his technical, on-the-ball abilities, he performed well in two physically demanding leagues in the Scottish Premiership and English Championship.”
Atlanta manager Frank de Boer has said any player he signs is expected to be able to contribute right away. Thus, expect Hyndman to join the rotation with Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe, Eric Remedi and Jeff Larentowicz as a box-to-box player. He is eligible to appear for the Five Stripes beginning today when the Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens.
San Jose Earthquakes
Added Mexican winger Carlos Fierro.
San Jose has signed Mexican winger Carlos Fierro for an undisclosed transfer fee, using Targeted Allocation Money. Fierro can be added to San Jose’s roster once he receives his P-1 Visa and ITC.
Fierro has previously played for Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda. The midfielder made 64 appearances for Almeyda from 2015-18 and 11 under Quakes assistant coach Benjamin Galindo (2013) while competing for Chivas de Guadalajara.
“I know Carlos from my time at Chivas,” said Almeyda. “I know him as a person and as a professional. I know he can help us a lot with his style of play. He’s a player that I can use in various positions. I thank the club and the effort they made to be able to buy him. Hopefully he does a great job, which is what everyone hopes for.”
Fierro, 24, has been a part of several trophy-winning teams in his native Mexico, helping his former clubs claim a trio of Copa MX titles (2015, 2016, 2017) and one Liga MX championship (2017).
In addition to club success, Fierro has made significant contributions to Mexico’s youth level national teams, having been a selection at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels, scoring four goals in 14 total appearances. He was a key player for Mexico at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where Mexico finished with a perfect 7-0-0 record and became the first host nation to win that championship. Fierro scored twice in the Group Stage, the game-winning goal in the Round of 16, and the game-winning goal in the Quarterfinals to earn the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third most outstanding player. He later helped Mexico win the 2013 Concacaf U-20 Championship with a perfect 6-0-0 record, including a 3-1 victory over the United States in the Final.
Fierro most recently played for Monarcas Morelia of Mexico’s Liga MX on loan from Cruz Azul. During his one year with Morelia, the midfielder scored one goal and contributed four assists in 32 appearances across Liga MX and Copa MX competitions.
A native of Guadalajara, Fierro originally joined the Chivas youth academy in 2008, later making his first team debut in August of 2011 at the age of 17. During his first professional season, Apertura 2011, he was the club’s most often used substitute. Fierro made 135 appearances for Chivas between 2011-15, tallying 11 goals and 13 assists and helping the club win the Apertura 2015 Copa MX Final, two months after Almeyda’s arrival.
The Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens today, Tuesday, July 9 and runs through August 7, 2019. Clubs are now permitted to register new signings.
Pursuant to FIFA regulations, in order to complete a signing, loan or transfer, an MLS club must request an International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) from the national association where the player was last registered. For example, a player being transferred from Real Betis to an MLS side would need an ITC issued by the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF). This is known as the International Clearance Process. (See more at kennethrusso.com/fifa-regulations-on-the-transfer-of-players/)
A team may have negotiated and completed a deal prior to the transfer window; receipt of a player’s ITC is required in order to add a player to the official roster and for that player to be eligible to play in competitive matches.
A number of deals have already been completed leading up to the window. Deals completed
Intra-League Trades Also Open
Coinciding with the opening of the transfer window, the trade window within MLS for players once again is open, and runs until August 8th.
As a reminder, trades for non-player assets, including international roster slots, allocation money, allocation order slots and MLS SuperDraft picks, can take place any time and are not restricted by the transfer window periods.
Roster Freeze On The Horizon.
The 2019 Roster Freeze Date is August 30, 2019, at which time clubs must submit their final 30-man roster. Rosters cannot be changed from that date through the day after MLS Cup.
In a major policy shift, Major League Soccer enacted changes to its commercial sponsorship guidelines. Under the changes adopted, the 26 clubs will be allowed to contract for shirt and stadium naming rights sponsorships with sports betting and liquor companies. Both of these types of entities can now be prominently displayed on the shirts of MLS clubs and also be considered as potential stadium naming rights sponsors. The sponsorship policy changes take effect immediately.
It is customary across the globe to have shirts and kits (uniforms) with corporate sponsors. In North America, the only sport outside of soccer to have any form of corporate uniform sponsorship is the NBA. The basketball league began sponsorship patches on the front of its teams’ uniforms in 2017, and the program has been regarded as a success for the teams.
Up until this past Wednesday, MLS Clubs were prohibited from doing business with gambling and spirits brands. However, beer and wine companies were not on the list of prohibited sponsors, and from a policy standpoint, the arbitrary line drawn on alcohol-related sponsors was likely hard to rationalise. However, allowing sponsorships from gambling companies represents a major policy shift, and a position very different from the other North American Professional sports leagues, who have gone out of their way over the years to disassociate themselves from sports wagering. (For years Las Vegas was even off limits as a potential home to a professional sports franchise due to its connections with legalised gambling.)
What is behind these changes? MLS views itself as an innovative, creative league. “We want to be viewed as a progressive league, and provide our clubs with an appropriate level of flexibility,” Carter Ladd, the league’s senior Vice President of Business Development, was quoted as saying. “We don’t want to be restrictive; we want to enable them in a positive way, and that’s why we’re taking this action… We strongly believe this is going to help drive new revenues.”
Activating sponsorship agreements with gambling and alcohol companies does have it challenges and sensitive points, in particular, marketing such products to children or the perception of same. For that reason, the revised guidelines have certain restrictions. MLS is taking steps to ensure all advertising by such sponsors is directed toward an “age-appropriate audience,” it said. For example, youth-sized replica shirts will not be allowed to have such sponsors; neither will the shirts of uniforms worn by clubs’ academy and youth players. Additionally, MLS will also restrict players under the age of 21 from appearing in any alcohol-related advertising or digital content, and no players are allowed to appear in sports betting-related marketing.
Ladd told Fortune Magazine recently that the league feels it is “uniquely positioned in the North American sports landscape” to benefit from changing attitudes – particularly toward sports gambling, which he noted has long “been embraced as part of the fabric of the game” in other countries.
Furthermore in May 2018, the United States Supreme Court in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 584 U.S. ____ (2018) overturned the federal ban on sports betting. Since then, 15 states and the District of Columbia have now authorised betting in some form, according to the American Gaming Association.
The sports betting market represents a two-pronged opportunity for MLS: as a revenue generator and as a fan engagement tool. The sports betting market is really in its infancy in the U.S., and MLS wants to be on the forefront of the potential creates. In March 2019, the league announced a multi-year deal with MGM Resorts that made MGM its first “official gaming partner,” The new MLS regulations make it easier for its teams to reach similar deals of their own.
It should be noted that MLS clubs will still be subject to their own states’ laws governing sports gambling. Another issue is the fact that sports betting is not legal in Canada, and this potentially complicates matters for the three Canada-based MLS clubs, including raising the question of whether a Canadian MLS team could have an American-based gambling sponsor.
One of the most distinctive activities that will be allowed by these rules changes is that MLS clubs are now allowed to establish in-stadium sports betting facilities, in connection with licensed gambling operators, in jurisdictions that permit such establishments. Washington, D.C. is one such place. Ted Leonsis, who owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals, plans to open such a facility within Capital One Arena, the downtown venue shared by both of his teams.
“Right now, we want to take advantage of the widespread legalization of sports betting in the U.S.,” Ladd said, adding that the league will “pursue best practices to protect the integrity of the game.”
Asked about MLS’s more accommodating stance toward spirits, Ladd pointed to data indicating that Americans’ tastes are drifting more toward liquor, which has steadily been taking market share from beer and wine. “Part of what drove our thinking is the research we did on where the [alcohol] industry is going,” he said. “As social mores change, there’s less of a line between beer and wine, and spirits.
MLS already has a league-wide sponsorship agreement in place with Heineken Beer. Ladd opined he anticipates the league’s new guidelines to “double, if not triple our revenues” from spirits sponsors, which he currently placed in the “seven-figure range.”
We should expect MLS clubs to start announcing new sports betting and liquor sponsorships before the end of this year.
A report broadcast today by Radio La Red AM 910 in Buenos Aires (Twitter @radiolared) states that Argentine club Estudiantes De La Plata are close to reaching an agreement with Inter Miami CF that will bring winger Matías Pellegrini to the new MLS club.
The deal is reportedly for $10 million USD. Pellegrini would leave Estudiantes in February 2020 in time to join the Rosa y Negra for their debut in MLS in March 2020. Club Estudiantes de La Plata would also receive 10 percent of any future transfer of the player by Inter Miami.
Neither club has made any comment about the alleged deal. This is the second reported transfer of a player to Inter Miami. Last Friday, TyC Sports reported that Inter Miami and Club Atlético Banfield had reached a deal for Julián Carranza.
Pellegrini, who turned 19 on March 11th, is a native of Magdalena, Argentina. His primary positions are as a left winger and centre forward. He was promoted to the first team in August 2018, having been part of Estudiantes’ reserve (U20) squad prior to that. His first goal as a professional cane against Boca Juniors. He has made 15 appearances for Estudiantes this season, with three goals and one assist. He has logged 1,053 minutes across all competitions (903’ in Primera División and 150’ in the Copa Libertadores).
If true, and if the report from last Friday concerning attacker Julián Carranza’s transfer from CA Banfield is also accurate, then Inter will have spent $16 million USD to bring two young, talented and promising players from Argentina to Inter Miami. It’s a pretty strong statement about the club’s desire to make an immediate impact in MLS during the first season. It also mirrors the types of moves Sporting Director Paul McDonough made in his previous role with Atlanta United FC.
While there is no confirmation either of this transaction or Carranza’s, it is relevant to note that the summer transfer window in Argentina runs from July 3 to Sept. 24, 2019. Also, for MLS, the secondary transfer window is from July 9 to Aug. 7, 2019, and any deal, even if already agreed to, would generally not be announced until the window is open.
Here are clips from a recent game Pellegrini played for Estudiantes against Racing and a longer video featuring some of the player’s highlights from this season:
Update: Friday, July 12, 2019: Argentine sports media outlet TyC Sports continues to report that Pellegrini’s signing could be announced quickly and that the deal includes performance objectives that, if met, could make the deal worth $13 million dollars to Estudiantes de la Plata.
According to Argentine Sports Network TyCSports, Inter Miami have agreed on a $6 Million USD deal with Club Atlético Banfield for striker Julián Carranza. The 19-year-old will join the Rosa y Negra for the 2020 season. If true, this would make him the first signing by the new Miami side. There has been no official word from Inter Miami as of the time of this writing.
The deal reportedly includes additional compensation to be paid by Inter should Carranza meet certain performance bonuses. Also included is a ten percent sell-on clause in the event of a future transfer.
There has been much anticipation that Inter Miami were close to making a first signing announcement. In recent weeks. seemingly every well-known player at the end of his contract or being discussed as a transfer target has been linked with Inter Miami. However, something about this report seems more likely to be true, considering Sporting Director Paul McDonough’s history in building the roster of Atlanta United FC, and insights he has shared regarding the anticipated presence of South American players on the Inter Miami roster. McDonough’s building of the Atlanta United roster set the trend for big money signings of both established players (ex. Pity Martinez) and young players with great potential (ex. Ezequiel Barco) from Argentina.
According to sources, Italian Serie A side Genoa were targeting Carranza, having also been in Argentina and negotiating to sign Pedro De La Vega from Lanús.
To add credibility to this report, Carranza was definitely in Miami in recent days, posting this picture from the Wynwood Walls on his Instagram account:
Here is a video from Youtube that shows some clips from Carranza’s 2018-2019 season with Banfield.
Carranza, who turned 19 in May, is in his second season as a professional. He joined the senior squad of Banfield in 2017. Since then, he has made 29 career appearances for them, scoring 8 goals. He has logged 1,871 minutes across all competitions. Carranza featured in two matches for the Argentina U17 team at the 2017 South American Championship in Chile, and has also trained with the U20 team.
Prior to playing as a professional with El Taladro, Carranza came through Banfield’s academy system. He would join Inter Miami at the end of 2019 in order to be ready for the Rosa y Negra’s inaugural season in MLS in March 2020.