Wednesday, May 20, 2009

5/20/09: Palermo Doesn't Rule Out Joining Guille, If Boca Directors Don't Renew Contract In June

Reunited and it feels so good? Keep a watch on what Boca does on June 30th.

Beginning excerpt from Sports Illustrated:
A classic target man whose best skills don't appear to be fading, Palermo hopes to end a glorious career at Boca Juniors. But he hasn't ruled out a long-rumored move to Major League Soccer, where he could team up with former Boca teammate Guillermo Barros Schelotto with the Columbus Crew.

My thoughts: There has to be some reason why this rumor just won't go away and right now with the Crew's trainwreck start, this may gain some momentum. The possibility of a Palermo move that seemed impossible at the beginning of the season with a fixed lineup of talented returning champions and no cap space, all of a sudden seems much more possible.

Especially when chewing on Shawn Mitchell's blog from a week ago:

--With July 1 (the date semi-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed) inching closer the Crew's brass has changed its tune a bit when it comes to possible player-personnel moves. To paraphrase, “if it ain't broke don't fix it" has morphed into "what can we do to improve our club that makes sense." That's no surprise considering a 1-5-2 start and the interest other MLS teams have shown in several players on the Crew's roster.

To chew on:

**Is Pat Noonan's $175,000 salary coupled with his reserve role doing the Crew any good? Could he be of more service to another team? Could the Crew, with little wiggle room under the salary cap, put that money to better use?

**Would a speedier, better-finishing striker than Alejandro Moreno be a better complement to Guillermo Barros Schelotto?

**Is the Crew's central midfield still considered as deep and talented as it once was?

Hefty questions, all, and maybe moot if the Crew can reel off a few wins in a row...

My thoughts on this are if the Crew could get their hands on Palermo. It might be the end of Noonan and Moreno in a Crew jersey, (both making upwards of $150,000, both not having the greatest of years, their salaries combined would clear over $300,000 in cap space which might be enough for Palermo to start out with). Schelotto and Palermo have had a great relationship at Boca and would get the Crew back on track, in all probability, with having a striker with a better strike rate.

However, Palermo's age is a concern. Would it be worth it to put money into a Schelotto and Palermo relationship if both could be gone at the end of the year or the next year? Maybe the Crew opens up that money for a younger striker with a good strike rate and more speed instead. Maybe Warzycha tries to tap a polish talented striker again. Warzycha almost succeeded in acquiring Celtic striker Maciej Zurawski at the beginning of 2008 to team up with Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Or maybe they just stay with the status quo and hope for the best. If so, Moreno has to start to score soon or we need to give Lenhart or someone a run out.

But, overall, it's just not working in the final third right now. Warzycha is frustrated with the lack of finishing, especially after the LA game, and so is probably McCullers. They were interested in other strikers, like Zurawski, before Moreno's great year last year. Moreno isn't having as great of a year this year and others are not helping in the production, and therefore either we get a new striker for Noonan's salary or in a Noonan trade (might be the best move, as maybe we go to two strikers with Moreno and Noonan's replacement. Or use Moreno as first striker off the bench). Or we get a new striker by combining both of those two salaries. I just think all signs point to some new striker.

Either MLS, Palermo, or some Polish player.

From Sports Illustrated's interview with Martin Palermo: What do you know about MLS? Have you seen any games?

Palermo: I've seen more matches since the arrival of Guille. I follow him, and from doing that, I have been able to watch several matches -- those that are televised in Argentina, of course. If you don't come to an agreement to renew your contract with Boca, would a possible move to MLS tempt you?

Palermo: It is something I always speak about with my agent [Gustavo Goñi, the same person who negotiated Schelotto's move to Columbus] because there are always rumors. But right now I'm only thinking about what will happen at Boca. Has Guillermo told you anything about MLS?

Palermo: He is very happy and well adapted. Most of all because last year he demonstrated his quality and helped his team win the title. A couple of years ago, it was reported that Guille tried to convince you to join him in Columbus. What happened?

Palermo: There were some talks but nothing came from it. MLS has signed lots of Argentines in the last few years, players of tremendous quality and some with national-team experience. The league also has been linked to others like Juan Sebastian Verón, Ariel Ortega and you. Why do you think Argentine players are so popular?

Palermo: Because the Argentine player generally makes a difference. And Guillermo provided evidence of that with Columbus last year.


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