When he joined the Montreal Impact a little over a year ago, sporting director Olivier Renard warned about the possibility of miraculously changing the club’s appearance. His vision is long-term and he notably justified in this way, Thursday, the recent transfer of Saphir Taïder to Saudi Arabia.
“We cannot wave a magic wand,” he recalled, during a videoconference with the Montreal press. I look at the long term and the club look at the long term. «
Without wishing to divulge the amount obtained by the Saudi club Al Ain for Taïder, Renard also spoke of a « wage economy », an economy which, he said, « offers leeway to block players at from January ”.
« We are looking to invest for the 2021 season, » he added, noting the presence of a budget to be respected.
Regarding the transfer of Taïder, he indicated that everything had happened naturally after a conversation with the player’s agent.
“A club had come forward and all that remained was to agree on a transfer price. Then, we opened the door to Saphir, ”simply described the sporting director.
Fighting against protocol
Renard has not thrown in the towel for this campaign, but he agrees that the team’s situation, with a dozen injured and a forced stay in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, did not nothing to help the organization.
« We must fight against the wounded and against the protocol, » he summed up.
“It’s difficult to be there, but for me, it stops there,” said Renard, admitting that the Impact was in a much better position before leaving for the United States. We know the reality, but that’s no excuse, we have to get points in the standings. ”
A list limited to 30 players
Regarding the situation in the infirmary, Renard explains that he cannot work miracles in order to provide reinforcement either.
“There is a maximum of 30 players, in MLS, that we can have on our list,” he recalled. For us, the biggest problem we have is rather the 12 players who are on the sidelines. ”
The situation has necessarily become problematic for matches, but also for training, since Thierry Henry no longer even has the option of leading exercises at 11 against 11. With the club in the United States, it becomes improbable to recall, even a few players from the U23 squad, in order to train properly.
Access the playoffs
In short, Renard is not fooled: he knows the situation is difficult for the Impact. With five games to go, the manager remains hopeful that the club will finish in the top 10 in the Eastern Conference standings to advance to the playoffs. On the other hand, the decision to quietly prepare for a 2021 season punctuated by much more favorable conditions can only seem like a responsible choice.
In the short term, Renard clarified that midfielder Steeven Saba is recovering from a foot injury and that he should soon join the Impact in the United States. Goalkeeper Clément Diop, who left for France for family reasons earlier this week, should for his part find the team this weekend, but he will have to respect a quarantine of several days. The Impact’s next meeting (6-10-2) is scheduled for Saturday against Inter Miami CF at Red Bull Arena.
– Still with the goal of preparing for 2021, the Impact obtained on Thursday a general allowance amount of $ 50,000 from the Orlando City SC, in return giving up a place as a foreign player for the current season.