While the Montreal Impact have found a snazzy new head coach in Thierry Henry, they still have plenty of squad building work to do before the 2020 Major League Soccer season kicks off.
Who might the Arsenal/France/New York Red Bulls legend try to sign during the offseason? We combed rosters all around the globe to identify some transfer targets that Henry could potentially have his eye on.
Before we run down our list of 10 reasonable offseason options for the Impact, let’s start with some honorable mentions that may also fit Henry’s bill: Kyle Bekker, Olivier Giroud, Thomas Monconduit, Jon Toral, William Vainqueur and Monaco midfielder Pele.
After a couple of tough seasons, the veteran winger is regaining his mojo while on loan to Anderlecht this term. Henry worked with Chadli during his time as Belgium assistant and then brought him to Monaco, who probably would sell him at a considerable discount.
Henry’s former Arsenal running mate and Monaco charge has been linked with MLS numerous times over the years. Things haven’t quite gone as planned at Stade Louis II, so the principality side might be willing to see him skate to Montreal.
Like Chadli, the Canada striker is currently rediscovering his game in the Jupiler League. Even though Larin has seven goals and six helpers in 16 appearances for Zulte-Waregem this season, parent club Besiktas may let him go back to MLS for a song.
The longtime France ace is still going strong at 32, but his contract with Juventus is due to expire next summer. Might Henry be able to convince his countryman to come overseas on a freebie to form a top-notch defensive midfield wall with Samuel Piette?
The Impact, who have been habitually goal-shy since joining MLS, will have at least one Designated Player spot open for next season. Mertens (another Belgium star who’s very familiar with Henry) may be 32, but his all-around game certainly hasn’t slowed down and his Napoli deal expires at season’s end.
One of the benefits of building a squad in Montreal is a fertile pipeline from sister club Bologna. It’s not a stretch to think that under-utilized center back Paz — who was previously linked with an Impact move — could hop the pond to become the latest Rossoblu player to shine at Stade Saputo.
Henry might feel a natural affinity for the Toulouse forward; he’s a speedy former Arsenal man who likes to run from wide channels and was rather enigmatic early in his career. Sanogo is also out of contract come summer and may be ready to come into his own.
One might imagine that Henry saw the US youth international bag a decisive brace against France in their Under-20 World Cup round-of-16 clash back in June. Soto’s Hannover 96 deal ends in June and all indications are that he won’t be back. Could the all-time great striker convince him to spurn PSV Eindhoven advances to give MLS a shot?
Speaking of that Under-20 World Cup match, Sylla watched it from the France dugout. It was Henry who gave the talented but raw speedster, who can operate anywhere along the front line, more chances than any other Monaco manager. He’s another guy available on a free transfer in the summer, and Les Monégasques might even be willing to let him leave early at a cut-rate.
The Trinidad & Tobago winger has rarely been a part of the rotation in three years with Canadian rivals Toronto FC, and now he’s out of contract. Telfer does have athletic attack skills, which he showed off hitting double figures in goals on loan to Canadian Premier League side York9. And, like Larin, he won’t take up an international slot.