Why is it the summertime and I'm still waiting for my days to become shorter and simpler? Sigh. Fortunately something woke me up from my stupor.
Awhile ago USSoccer.com claimed than an unnamed Argentinean player spoke to an unnamed American player about the possibility of playing in the MLS during the Copa America. Now Sideline Views is claiming that player is none other than Juan Sebastian Veron of ManU and Chelsea fame, who is deciding between current outfit Estudiantes and our beloved DC United. The kicker? Goff is corroborating. There's definitely something abuzz down at RFK.
Until there's a signature on paper and money changes hands, I'm not convinced the Great DP Search of '07 has concluded. And money would seem to be the issue, as it always is: SV said something about $20 million but that's just stupid. Goff said something about $1.5 million, which strikes me as a reasonable amount to bring him here. If DCU could fetch Veron for that kind of money, I'd say we found ourselves a bargain. Apparently we have something close to that figure in the bank already: DCU's ownership is willing to foot up to $1mil, on top of the DP allocation money MLS is already taking care of ($400k). The next move is yours, Veron.
Here's my take. Veron would be an outstanding addition to the team and quite worthy of succeeding Gomez as our midfield playmaker. This goes without saying.
But the catch lies in the backfield. D over at DCenters disfavors a move for Veron because it wouldn't improve our back-four situation any. He's very correct. However, I've been entertaining dark, twisted, unorthodox thoughts recently and in light of these Veron-to-DC rumors, I think these thoughts need be outed:
Let's not use our DP slot on a defender. Let's fix our defensive woes by using homegrown, grassroots, MLS-quality defensive talent.
There are several reasons why this makes sense.
I mean, it's all about the money. Attacking players increase ticket sales and merchandising revenue as well as publicity for the club. Ownership is more willing to drop $2mil on a good attacker than $1mil on an outstanding defender. Current DP trends confirm this: Angel, Schelotto, Becks, and Blanco are as much commercial props as they are offensive assets. I predict this trend will continue well into the future.
So, with all these high-calibre attacking minds migrating Stateside, it seems obvious to me that the best way to better the league on top of attracting all these world-class stars is to pit our boys against them. Why hire an international to oppose an international? It makes more sense to season our internationally-infantile MLS defenders rather than build on experience these veteran international defenders already have.
The USMNT benefits as well: the migration of international attackers to the MLS will force our best domestic attackers overseas in search of a combination of less competition and higher technical ability.
I mean, at some point the players' union would have something to say about being forced to find work elsewhere and MLS would have to install some protective measures to keep our best and brightest at home, but I still think that the current policy of international strikers, domestic defenders is the best formula for success in the grand scheme of things.
So my advice to DCU is to snap up Veron. Gomez, Juan Toja, Guillermo Schelotto and JPA have proven how a high-calibre, South American offensive mind can positively impact a squad. Part of me even believes that adding Veron to the squad would encourage Gomez to stay at least another season or two. Let's get this guy.
Just do it.