As you’ve probably heard by now, the Montreal Impact have signed Italian midfielder Marco Donadel.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this move. Sure, he’s a player who brings veteran leadership to the side and has track record of playing at a high level (almost 250 games in Serie A and a handful in the UEFA Champions League).
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However, there have been some reports that Donadel is a bit over the hill and isn’t quite what he was when he was wearing the captain’s armband with Fiorentina.
If he does work out and regains the form that had him winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics, we can thank another Marco.
It was Marco Di Vaio who convinced Donadel to come to Montreal for a trial when the 2014 season was winding down.
Will Marco Donadel even get a chance to succeed in Montreal? Let’s take a look at the players the central/defensive midfielder will be competing with for a roster spot.
Manager Frank Klopas usually goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation, so there are three possible positions Donadel could occupy; the centre of the front three or one of the two defensive midfield spots.
There is a logjam of players vying for that centre spot, including Designated Player Ignacio Piatti, Dilly Duka and Felipe.
So it’s pretty safe to say Donadel won’t be playing there – he doesn’t bring the offensive prowess required anyway.
That leaves to two defensive positions, which suits the 31-year-old well.
The players who he will be competing with are not nearly as high quality as the ones mentioned above; Calum Mallace, Patrice Bernier and Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare.
Those three plus Donadel is still a pretty solid group, so lets break it down.
“Since my first training session in Montreal, the club has made me feel like a part of their family. Throughout the process, I felt like the Impact really wanted me to be part of the team. I am really looking forward to January to get this adventure started.” – Marco Donadel
I like Mallace, a lot. Here’s why. The Impact have taken part in three MLS SuperDrafts since entering the league. Here’s a list of their second round draft picks;
2012: Calum Mallace
2013: Paolo DelPiccolo
2014: George Malki
Unless you follow the team closely or have a very good memory, you won’t remember the latter two. Mallace is a fighter and he plays hard – the type of player you want in your lineup.
Over the years, he has gradually taken on a bigger and bigger role in Montreal. Will he be a starter next season? Only Frank Klopas knows and he may not even be certain.
When it comes to Patrice Bernier, he and Donadel would form a tandem with 29 years of pro soccer experience. But the 35-year-old skipper is getting up there in age and struggled with an injury last year, so his durability comes into question. Plus, technically, he’s not even signed to a contract for next year.
As for the 19-year-old Gagnon-Lapare, I’m a fan of his. He’s a smart, young, homegrown player who I think can be the future of the team.
It’s possible though, that he’s too young and lacks game experience.
As I said before, only Klopas knows (and he may not) where Donadel will slot into his squad and what his midfield will look like come training camp.
The Impact Marco Donadel and a whole lot of intrigue along with him.