Back in September, it was reported that Manny Lagos was in Scandinavia on a scouting trip for the MLS roster. It was a logical place to scout as those leagues tend to be populated with solid, if not very good, players that fly under the radar. Well, it appears he may have found someone that he liked.
Latvian born, Norwegian International Vadim Demidov appears to be heading this way. As reported by FiftyFive.One’s Jeff Reuter and Kristan Heneage of FourFourTwo.com, ESPNFC, and Yahoo UK, the centerback and defensive midfielder is close to becoming a Loon.
Demidov is a 30-year-old centerback, but has played some defensive midfield as well for his club in Norway, SK Brann. Demidov served as club captain, and was one of the leaders on the pitch as Brann was promoted back into the Tippeligaen following the 2015 season, and he helped lead the Fire to a 2nd place finish and a spot in the Europa League this past season. According to Bergens Tidende*, after Demidov’s contract expired, it was clear that neither he nor Brann were likely to extend beyond 2016.
Demidov has a long resume that saw him play stints in Spain, Germany, and Russia as well as for different clubs in Norway. Heaneage has seen him play and says that if the signing were to happen, Demidov is likely to fit well with Mohammed Saied. If these rumors are true, it would fit the mold of the recent signings by Minnesota United. Not a big name that people recognize, but a player that should pair well with current players. It also could indicate a willingness to move Collen Warner. Depending on when this signing is announced, that could be a trade that happens to sneak the Loons back into the First Round of next week’s SuperDraft.
What this means for possible future signings
The Demidov rumors are interesting because it means that something definitely is coming out of Manny Lagos’s scouting trip. What is suprising to me, however, is just who came out of this trip. When I saw that Lagos was looking at the Scandinavian leagues, a couple names immediately jumped into my head, but Demidov was not one of them.
When I think of Scandinavian soccer, five teams come to mind: Molde and Rosenborg in Norway, FC Copenhagen and Brondby in Denmark, and AIK in Sweden. SK Brann is not one of them. (Although, maybe they should be since they are playing in Europe next season it appears.)
This is not at all a slight on Demidov, this is just surprising for me. This does make my mind wander onto other possible Scandinavian Targets:
Alex Horwath is a Maryland Native. Alex Horwath is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. But most of all, Alex Horwath is a goalkeeper.
Horwath has bumped around to different clubs his entire career - making a brief stop in New York to make one appearance for the Red Bulls - and he made 11 appearances for Demidov’s SK Brann team since 2015.
His body of work does not stand out to me, what stands out to me is the lack of any goalkeepers on Minnesota United’s MLS roster. Horwath would not be a flashy signing, but it is a smart soccer strategy to have at least one goalkeeper on the roster, and Horwath likely would be a cheap and solid option.
Alright, I admit it. When looking at rosters, I will likely err on the side of an Icelandic player. But the 21-year-old from Brøndby IF makes a lot of sense.
The backline for the Loons looks to be pretty set for the start of the season, but Hermannsson would be a piece for the future that can slot in next to Francisco Calvo. With Davis, Greenspan, Calvo, and Venegas, MNUFC is not likely to be looking for a back that can start immediately, but Hermannson may not be looking for a team where he will be starting immediately.
He made five appearances for Brøndby scoring one goal. He has represented his country at multiple levels including being included for the senior Icelandic team’s memorable run at UEFA Euro 2016.
Transfermarkt.com currently lists his estimated fee at about €500,000, which may not make this a feasible option, but it something that I would suggest.
And the obvious answer. The player who most recently was with Molde would be the easy choice.
Josh Gatt was the one player that many assumed Manny Lagos was scouting on his trip to the Nordic Lands. (Well, Gatt and Ethan Horvath but with Horvath’s recent transfer to Club Brugge in Belgium, that put an end to those dreams.) Gatt made 60 total appearances for Molde, and he added nine goals. Gatt was often featured at winger for the Norwegian club, but can likely be used in many attacking roles.
The Plymouth, Michigan native has appeared twice for the USMNT.
EmpireOfSoccer.com reported that Gatt is currently on a trial with FC Nurnberg of the 2. Budesliga. That trial period and the worry about the health of his knees is likely to keep some teams at bay, but Gatt would be a nice piece to add into an already formidable MNUFC attack. Gatt would be a great depth piece with Femi and probably Jeremy Ebobisse to bolster an attack that is led by Christian Ramirez, Miguel Ibarra, and Johan Venegas.
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*Link in Norwegian