Every MLS team is getting their own Argentine these days, but whereas San Jose just confirmed theirs today, Montréal announced Ignacio Piatti’s impending arrival earlier this month. During that time, Piatti has stayed in Argentina, where he’s helped San Lorenzo to the Copa Libertadores final. The ability to play through CONMEBOL’s club championship was a major part of the 29-year-old’s negotiation with Montréal.
Unfortunately, the fun that is international transfer windows is about to call time on the teams’ goodwill. On Aug. 7, North American’s transfer window closes, preventing Montréal from registering players from other countries. With Copa’s two-legged final scheduled for Aug. 6 and 13, Piatti will have to join his new club before seeing out San Lorenzo’s continental campaign.
According to Major League Soccer’s website, the two teams pursued a FIFA exemption that would allow Piatti to complete Copa with San Lorenzo. Per Montréal owner Joey Saputo, that path fell short.
“What FIFA told us is that it’s something they’ve never done,” Saputo told reporters on Wednesday. So it would be very tough for him to get an exemption, and his club, San Lorenzo, know it. They don’t have a choice; he has to come here before August 7. I don’t know if he plays on August 6, but honestly, I don’t think so. He’ll be here before the window closes.”
Can’t we just turn a blind eye to this one? Both clubs are on board, as is the player. And we’re not talking about a huge amount of time to forgive. It’s six days.
Paraguay’s Nacional, San Lorenzo’s opposition, might have an issue with it, but their case would have to rest on a slippery slope argument that envisions finalists playing with rosters overloaded with players destined for leagues with Aug. 7 transfer deadlines. Would it be to terrible for us to wait until that world is more than a hypothetical?
At least, that’s one point of view. The other: This is a situation the teams clearly saw as a possibility, yet all sides elected to move forward with the deal. San Lorenzo had the ability to go out and get another player to address this need. Just because Piatti really wants to play next week doesn’t mean anybody should rewrite their rules.
This is an oddity, not a tragedy, though it’s still unfortunate for Piatti. Libertadores was clearly important to him. Unfortunately, his move north had to take priority over the chance San Lorenzo would make the final.