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Offseason Preview: Designated Players or TAM Signings

MNUFC doesn’t necessarily need a big name signing, but can’t we have some fun?

Swansea City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Designated players. Targeted Allocation Money and General Allocation Money. These players can push a team across that critical playoff line. But, those players can also be colossal failures (**cough** Vadim Demidov **cough**.) Minnesota United came in to MLS with a bump in TAM for being an expansion team, and the Loons certainly used it. . . .

While there were the potential failures in Demidov and Rasmus Schuller, MNUFC also utilized their TAM pretty well through the remainder of the season. Obviously, MNUFC was brilliant in trading for Kevin Molino for $650,000 in TAM, but remember that Demidov was paid $550,000. One move outweighs the other and it isn’t KMO.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Minnesota United FC
Sigh . . .
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

So, where does leave us? Time to do some scouting. I am working on the assumption that MLS does raise the amount of TAM that each team will have as it is assumed, and I feel it better to look for players that are both playing for a team under contract and those out of contract in 2018. Limiting myself to only free transfers is just boring. Any player under contract will be valued by their transfermarkt.com price. Not the most accurate, but it will give me a starting point.

(I will include the players current team to give a little guidance if you want to look them up yourselves.)

Danny Williams - Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Danny Williams would be my ideal signing. The German-American Dual-National and longtime Reading FC midfielder makes complete sense for what this team needs right now. Primarily a defensive midfielder, he certainly wouldn’t be the flashiest of signings, but he would shore up a pretty large weakness which was connecting the defense to the attackers.

Williams has only a handful of appearances for Huddersfield Town in the English Premier Leage, but that has been because of a broken foot. He is 28 and will be 29 early next season, so it is possible that Huddersfield will be willing to part with him for closer to his Transfermarkt value which currently sits at €2 million.

The one problem I have with Williams (and it will come up with a couple others) is that he plays very similarly to Sam Cronin. Could be a problem, or not a problem at all.

Alejandro Chumacero - The Strongest (Bolivia)

Greece v Bolivia - International Friendly
#13 for Bolivia seen here
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

This is the great unknown, and I will be honest when I say I only know about the 25 year old Bolivian because of FIFA. But since finding Alejandro Chumacero on FIFA, I have been keeping track of him and he has certainly impressed me.

The diminuative midfielder appears to be strong on the ball, confident enough to take a shot from distance, and he is a hard-nosed tackler. He comes from a less recognized footballing nation in Bolivia, which could play in the favor of MNUFC’s pocketbooks. Chumacero currently plays for The Strongest (best. name. ever.) in La Paz, Bolivia. The Strongest, while being arguably the best club in Bolivia, is not necessarily a well-known club. Thus, why I say that Chumacero is a great unknown.

Chumacero is currently valued at a half of a million Euros by Transfermarkt, and appears to be a pretty affordable and lesser known player.

Honestly . . . playing at the elevation of La Paz could mean that Chumacero comes from The Strongest to being the strongest player for the Loons.

Alexandre Pato - Tianjin Quanjian

Villarreal v Monaco: UEFA Champions League Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Here is a pretty recognizable name. This is also easily the most expensive signing on this list and one that plays a position where Minnesota United already excels. But this article is about possible DP signings, and what is more MLS than signing a big name, expensive player at to slot in at center forward or at wing? Truly MNUFC won’t have made it until they spend money on a player that they don’t necessarily need.

But on a more serious note, Alexandre Pato was supposed to be the next big Brazilian star. Signed by AC Milan as a teenager, Pato quickly rose to prominance at the San Siro. Then in 2011, Pato started struggling with injuries to the point where AC Milan cut ties and (at least in Pato’s mind) thought he was done. He returned to his native country with Corinthians for $15 million and was loaned twice. He ended up reviving his career earning a move to Villareal and then a big money move to China.

Pato is listed at about a €6 million value, but Tianjin did spend $15.5 million for him. That was likely grossly overpaying for the former prodigy, but I would not be surprised to see Tianjin trying to recoup some of that money.

Aron Gunnarsson - Cardiff City

France v Iceland - Quarter Final: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Okay, who wouldn’t want Captain Viking in Minnesota?

The Iceland Captain currently mans the midfield for Cardiff City in the Championship, but is only on contract through this current season. My dream could come true. Gunnarsson is a true center midfielder that plays a connecting role for both Cardiff and the Icelandic National Team, and he could slot in right next to Cronin, Ibson, or Schuller depending on how the team lines up next season.

The biggest drawback for this signing would be the obvious problem of the World Cup in 2018. Gunnarsson led Iceland to a historic birth and the team could be a tough out next summer, so he may not be joining the Loons until the early July signing date (and that is assuming Cardiff lets the midfielder walk for free.)

Eric Lichaj - Nottingham Forest

United States v Martinique: Group B - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The American is in his last year of his Nottingham Forest contract, and could be a direct replacement for Jerome Thiesson if there is indeed discontent between Jerry and Adrian Heath as reported by Megan Ryan in her recent post-match column for the Star Tribune. (Note: Andy Greder has since clarified that the comment was meant for the team not just Jerry.)

Hopefully, I am just reading too much into a small comment. And if that is the case, Lichaj could be a good option to start over Marc Burch as well. The fullback has the English experience that we would want after joining Aston Villa and being loaned to various teams throughout the FA.

There is a strong possibility that Lichaj is signed to a new deal before the end of the season since he has been given the captain’s armband by Forest on a couple of occasions. If he is not, though, it is time to bring the Illinois native stateside.

Now there are thousands of players to choose from and these are simply names that I think could be considered. There is a serious lack of playmakers or centerbacks on this list, though. Do you have any ideas? Maybe you know of a young Paraguayan playing for a lower Argentinian team?? (You clearly have found Miguel Almiron in this scenario.) But if you do, comment below! Or even better, write a fan post!