Targeted Allocation Money

MLS announces additional $37 million investment in player funding

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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer is allowing teams to spend $37 million more on player salaries in the next two seasons in an effort to improve talent.

The league announced in July that each team could spend an additional $500,000 over five years on players, called Targeted Allocation Money. MLS said TAM could be used to sign or re-sign players who earn more than the maximum salary budget charge who are not high-priced designated players.

MLS said Wednesday each team can spent an additional $800,000 in TAM both in 2017 and 2018, money that must be spent within four transfer windows. The maximum budget charge next season for non-designated players is $457,500. TAM may be used to convert designated players to non-designated players.

The league also is allowing teams to spend $125,000 each year on homegrown players.

Timbers use TAM to pay down Adi, add new Argentine DP striker (video)

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The Portland Timbers have made use of Major League Soccer’s new Targeted Allocation Money policy to land themselves another forward.

The Timbers used TAM to pay down Fanendo Adi’s Designated Player salary to below the DP minimum, using that extra league money to sign 22-year-old Argentine forward Lucas Melano.

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Melano is a former Argentina U-20 player who has plied his trade professionally with Lanus and Belgrano in his home country, where he scored 15 times in 86 matches.

Melano becomes Portland’s fifth Argentine player, and second Argentine DP after Diego Valeri. Maxi Urruti, Norberto Paparatto, and Gaston Fernandez are the other three.


“This is player we tried to sign several years ago while he was at Belgrano and have followed him very closely ever since,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers. “The process in bringing him to Portland has been a lengthy and challenging one, as he was targeted by several European and Mexican clubs. We believe Lucas is a player that will suit the style and system, will make us better immediately and will be an asset to the club for the future.”

Shortly after joining the club, Melano helped Lanús win the 2013 Copa Sudamericana title, appearing in nine matches and scoring three goals during the cup competition, while finishing tied for fourth among all players in goal scoring during the tournament.

“Melano is a player we’ve had our eye on for some time and we are extremely pleased to finally announce his addition,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “Lucas is a very exciting, dynamic player with pace and individual game-changing ability. His versatility to be able to play any of the front four positions in our system also gives us flexibility to mesh him with our other quality pieces. We feel confident Lucas will make an immediate impact on our goal production this season but will also continue to grow with the club and be a key fixture in MLS for years to come.”

Will this move be a boon to Portland? Hard to say, but the Timbers have gained six points of safety in the race for a playoff spot. But in terms of a relative unknown, will Melano be more Octavio Rivero or Luis Angel Landin?

Well, he did once score a pair of goals in rather quick succession:

MLS introduces “Targeted Allocation Money” on July 8, will help teams sign higher-end talent

MLS statement on George Floyd

Major League Soccer has your latest addition to its lexicon, and joining Designated Player, Homegrown Player and allocation money is…

(Drumroll please)

… Targeted Allocation Money. Tell them what they’ve won.

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Targeted Allocation Money, or TAM, allows teams $100,000 per year for the next five years to use on players outside of the salary cap. How can TAM be used?

Beginning July 8 with the new transfer window:

1) It can only be used on players making more more than the maximum salary budget charge of $436,250.

2) It can be used to “buy down” a Designated Player’s salary, but only if the club is adding another Designated Player.

3) It can be traded to other teams for assets.

4) The club does not have to spend the full $100,000 each season, but must use the remaining money by the end of the next season.

5) A club can use all of its $500,000 this season on up to three players.

Make sense? We tried.

This does sound like the sort of mechanism that will help a team add a Giovani dos Santos, for example. Los Angeles can eat up a good deal of Omar Gonzalez’s $1.25 million salary, and it’s on a prorated basis according to Alexi Lalas:

It also calls into question how it helps teams with Designated Players who make less than the maximum salary budget charge (Matias Laba makes $300,000 and is a DP; Osvaldo Alonso makes $400,00 and is a DP).

It’ll get easier to understand… in time.