MLS 101: How does the summer transfer window work?
Montréal coach Frank Klopas highlighted the importance of the summer transfer window in his response to a question about Canadian international forward Olivier Occéan on Tuesday.
Occéan, 32, is on his way out at FC Kaiserslautern, though he remains under contract there. Klopas believes he could provide an intriguing and more direct option for the Impact to complement Marco Di Vaio and Jack McInerney moving forward.
“We’re looking to add depth there, not only now but for the future," Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s a player that brings something different. He’s a bigger guy, he looks to run behind, he has more of a presence in the box. There’s definitely an interest from his part and from us.”
This is the time to confirm the interest and make a deal. The secondary transfer window – the proper term for what everyone else calls the summer window – opened on Tuesday. It is one of the two times during the calendar year when MLS clubs can acquire and subsequently register players from abroad.
Coaches and general managers must take care of all of their foreign-based business over the next month in order to acquire reinforcements for the stretch run. There are exceptions – domestic-based players and out-of-contract options (by the end of the window) remain in the mix until the roster freeze deadline on Sept. 15 – to the rule, but those contracted targets must secure their deals during this window.
It makes for a rather busy period for everyone involved. Agents are touting players to find them new homes. Coaches are evaluating their rosters to see how to strengthen them before the stretch run provides some clarity to the muddled tables. General managers are sifting through possible targets and striking deals if possible.
Some of the hard work is already done. Sporting Kansas City has one deal -- reportedly for Honduran midfielder Jorge Claros -- already done, Sporting manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. Portland signed Liam Ridgewell last month as the team’s third Designated Player and waited patiently for his paperwork to clear. Other teams cleared out players -- Chicago dispatched Juan Luis Anangonó on loan to LDU Quito, for example -- to create budget room for potential signings.
It is also a good time for foreign clubs to do business, too. This is the one point on the calendar when the MLS window syncs up neatly with the global transfer market. Potential outgoing traffic is firmly on the radar now as European sides look to strengthen for their upcoming campaigns, but the incoming moves are the primary focus for MLS teams gearing up for the second half. This point constitutes It provides the opportunity for foreign clubs to line up replacements and supplies MLS sides with a chance to strengthen with suitable options.
All of those factors lay the groundwork for plenty of intrigue over the next few weeks as clubs and players attempt to sort out their futures. Occéan may or may not complete his deal to return to his native Quebec, but the continued chatter surrounding his potential transfer underscores the work ahead for all teams until the window closes on Aug. 6.