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A Fan Favorite, and a Legitimate MLS Option

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Miguel Ibarra manned the midfield for years for Minnesota United. He should come back to do the same in 2017.

Soccer: Panama vs USA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“Starting at midfield...Number 10...Miguel Ibarra!”

It was a sound that we heard a lot at the National Sports Center. Until midway through the 2015 season, Ibarra was a lock to be in the playmaking role for the Loons. He was, that is, until his contract was bought out for an undisclosed amount by Liga MX outfit, Club León. Let’s look into his post-Loons career, and whether he is a possibility to return in 2017.

Ibarra started fast at his new home. He came off of the bench in his first 4 Liga games, and he started 4 Copa MX games for first place León. He even found the back of the net twice in those Copa games. But, the honeymoon was over quickly.

Based on stats listed from soccerway.com, Ibarra would go on to have only 8 Liga MX appearances for the Lions in 2015, and he has yet to see the field in 2016. Ibarra was not even listed as a possible substitute in León’s last game, a 3-2 win over Cruz Azul. It seems likely that Ibarra will not see the field during the rest of the Liga MX Quarter-finals.

Let’s get him back

Ibarra was one of the best players in the NASL. He was named to the Best XI in 2013 and 2014. He was awarded the 2014 Golden Ball as the League’s top player. He combined with Christian Ramirez and Daniel Mendes to contribute 37 goals, and Ibarra tallied five assists (good for third in the league).

Ibarra was a fan favorite and I was personally sad to see him go. I do not think I am alone in the feeling, and I think that it would be a huge benefit to both the fledgling MLS side and Ibarra to facilitate a reunion. The question will be if it is worth it.

The Star Tribune reported that Ibarra’s transfer to León was worth “seven figures”. It is the guess of this writer that León will want to recoup some of the money they paid depending on how the contract ends. If that is the case, United may be less inclined to pay for a transfer fee.

On the other hand, if Ibarra’s buyout/transfer fee is reasonable and Ibarra agrees to an affordable contract, it would be a great move for MNUFC. An estimated affordable price would be around $250k a year contract, leaving money open for other players while paying Ibarra what he is worth.

The numbers that he (Batman) and Ramirez (Superman) put up in the NASL may not immediately transfer to the MLS, but Minnesota United should reunite the duo that excited the fans every week in Blaine.

Agree or disagree? Let us know below!