We’re all stuck.
For most of us, that means stuck at the house. Either working from home, on full-time parent duty or bored out of our skull watching Parks and Recreation for the 124th time.
For Minnesota United and other MLS teams, being stuck has a whole different meaning.
Not only is the MLS season on pause, but the COVID-19 pandemic has also made it impossible for front offices to get face-to-face meetings with potential transfers.
And for the Loons, this could not have come at a worse time.
For much of the winter, the Black and Blue were in talks with Argentinian club Boca Juniors for central attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso. Mark Watson, Minnesota’s technical director, spent weeks on end traveling to and from Buenos Aires to negotiate with the club and Reynoso. Reports ran rampant over the status of those talks, but the current state of affairs worldwide has stopped any in-person discussions dead in their tracks.
Now, the Loons potentially have competition for the No. 10 within their own league, as recent reports indicate another MLS team could be making a run at Reynoso.
So, how did Minnesota, who just a month ago seemed to be the top team on Boca and Reynoso’s radar, end up in a position where it could not only lose out on this game-changing acquisition, but potentially have to play against him once the league starts back up?
Let’s examine the potential reasons:
It’s very possible the two sides were so far apart on terms that Boca decided to go a different route, but still saw the value in selling to a club here in the States.
At the time of their initial discussions, Reynoso had an estimated value of $8.25 million, according to Transfermarkt.
A reported offer of $5.5 million made in February was denied by Boca, but ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle went on to say a deal was “95 percent done” between the two sides.
Despite being just “minor details” from an agreement, the reports of advancement in talks ran cold at the end of February/early March.
EMERGENCE OF KEVIN MOLINO
Coming into the season, many MNUFC fans and media saw the No. 10 position as a major need for the club, which is why the Reynoso negotiations were so closely followed. So, to say current CAM Kevin Molino had a chip on his shoulder heading into the campaign would be an understatement, and he played like it.
The third-year Loon kicked off the season with a two-goal performance in an opening weekend win against Portland, and followed that up with an assist in a 5-2 rout of San Jose.
Two games is an extremely small sample size, but if you combine Molino’s performance with stalled or mostly unsuccessful discussions with their target, it’s realistic to think that Watson and Co. would pull the plug a little earlier than normal.
Any momentum or further negotiation plans Minnesota had with Boca regarding Reynoso were obviously put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic. but every team in every league is in the exact same boat right now.
Just like us, they’re stuck, and in order for any clarity to emerge from all these reports and rumors, they need to get unstuck.