Nancy file: possible scenarios

Well, the books are now closed on an exceptional 2022 season for CF Montreal, despite a somewhat sad end with the club’s elimination in the second round of the MLS Cup at the hands of New York City FC.

Consequently, the balance sheet was not as jovial as this beautiful season would have deserved. Because we’re talking about a record season, and even in Sunday’s loss, the team had played well and dominated their opponents some of the time, especially in terms of possession and chances created.

What needs to be put into perspective are the reasons for our disappointment: the expectations.

If we come back, for example, to the 2015 and 2016 seasons, we were not expected at the end of the season. We did not believe that the team was going to cause strong emotions until the playoffs.

This year, this team made us believe first in its potential, and then in its status within the league as the season progressed, to the point where an MLS Cup title became an option.

This is why this abrupt end is more difficult to cash.

The Nancy case

Which brings us to the balance sheet, which has some question marks. We know that a good majority of players will return in 2023, but the situation of coach Wilfried Nancy, who would be hesitant about his future in Montreal, brings a little confusion. Will he really be back in 2023? Will he enter into negotiations for an extension until 2025, as the club seems to desire?

Some clarification is needed, so here are the different scenarios that could unfold over the next few weeks in this file, in my opinion.

Scenario number one: his option for the 2023 season has been waived by the club due to his reaching the playoffs this year. So on paper, Nancy has a contract which stipulates that he will be the coach of CF Montreal in 2023. He could, in the coming weeks, choose to negotiate a contract extension with the club and agree to stay there until at the end of the 2025 season, or at least for as long as both parties want. Everyone would be happy, it would be the end of this somewhat dark period of confusion. It would be settled and there would be continuity in the cycle that began in 2020 with Thierry Henry, which Nancy continued brilliantly from 2021.

Scenario number two: Wilfried Nancy agrees to honor his contract for the 2023 season, passes him to Montreal and weighs his options at the end of the year, when he will have the opportunity to take advantage of his autonomy. This would allow him to continue the cycle for a third year with a somewhat changed squad with the departure of some important players and the arrival of new faces. However, this is a situation that would provide few guarantees for the club beyond the 2023 season.

Scenario number three: even if he has a contract for 2023, Wilfried Nancy announces to the club that he does not want to continue the adventure next season, for reasons that belong to him. To understand what could happen in this case, one can refer to the case of Patrick Vieira with NYC FC a few years ago. Arrived for the 2016 season, Vieira attracted the greed of OGC Nice, France, in the spring of 2018. Although he still had a valid contract, New York City let him go under an agreement at the friendly. The same thing happened to Ronny Deila, still at NYC FC, this season as he left for a new challenge in Belgium. It also happened to Freddy Juarez, who left Real Salt Lake in the middle of the season for Seattle in 2021. In short, coaches who leave even if they have contracts, it’s not new, it’s has already happened. In the case of Nancy, if another club is interested in his services, he will have to contact CF Montreal and negotiate an exit, much like it would be the case for a player. Could this be a first transfer for a coach in the MLS?

Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

In the end, we are waiting. But with what we have seen since 2021, it would be good to see this cycle continue.

I’ve said it often during TVA Sports matches and in our podcasts: what has been built over the past two years can become the foundation, the club’s identity for many years to come, even if Nancy ends up leaving. What Vieira started in New York in 2016, moreover, was carried on by his successors, to the point where the club ended up winning the MLS Cup in 2021.

However, we can also refer to the case of the Philadelphia Union, where Jim Curtin, newly named coach of the year, remains the only master on board a cycle he began in 2014. Like of CF Montreal, the Union is not a big spender and its budget is even smaller. Despite the departure of talented players over the years, such as Brenden Aaronson, Kacper Przybylko or Jamiro Monteiro, the team has maintained its cruising speed and continued to progress, achieving playoff appearances and great success in the regular season. as was the case in 2022.

If we manage to replace the starting players, as well as other emerging players from the current squad such as Ishmael Kone, the project can continue to move forward. By doing so, CF Montreal could accustom its public to participation in the playoffs and who knows, end up getting the big trophy one day.

But very sincerely, I want to see scenario number one come to fruition.

This will follow in the coming weeks.

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