Olivier Tremblay covers the Impact on MLSsoccer.com
MONTREAL – Nick De Santis and Matteo Ferrari are still on the same page.
The Italian center back caused quite a stir on Tuesday, when he stated that this season’s Montreal Impact was “not as good as before,” but a candid discussion with sporting director De Santis has cleared the air.
“We did read the comments, and I don’t think he wanted it to come out that way,” De Santis told reporters on Thursday. “You can tell that there's a genuine interest in him thinking about what we’ve done in the past two years and where we feel we can go with this team. And I think that’s what he basically wanted to say: that there’s so much potential, and maybe with a couple of pieces, we can get even better.”
De Santis was, however, bothered when Ferrari questioned the Impact youngsters’ readiness for trickier situations such as the playoffs. Ferrari quickly shifted the message, wondering out loud if they might grow into the best young players in MLS. But Ferrari’s tongue had already slipped, and he privately recognized his mistake with De Santis.
“I don’t think he wanted to put it in that manner at all, because he does believe in the youngsters, and he does believe that they need to progress every day,” De Santis said. “And for the youngsters as well, there’s a lot of respect towards Matteo, because he’s a true professional from A to Z.”
Yet both Ferrari and De Santis still think that reinforcements would help. For the time being, De Santis is hopeful that midfielder Andres Romero might re-join the team in the coming weeks. Another powerful, quick forward is also on the shopping list, ideally before the transfer window shuts on May 12 – or even before the season starts, as Montreal lost its appeal against Marco Di Vaio’s three-game suspension.
The Impact SD won’t add further depth, as he believes it could send the wrong message to certain players. But his salary budget does allow him to seek one or two new additions that would “take the team to another level”.
“I know that there’s the pressure of what Toronto has done, what D.C. has done,” De Santis said. “The only thing is that if you look at teams that have made the playoffs, the Houstons, the KCs, the New Englands, the New Yorks, what have they done? They’re taking their time, trying to be diligent and smart about those one or two players that they add, that it’s got to be right.”