The MLS expansion side is set to announce a major move, but talk is already turning towards what’s next for David Beckham’s club
Inter Miami has brought in a star in Rodolfo Pizarro, who joined his new teammates for the first time in training on Friday. However, the big question remains who will join him in the coming weeks.
The club is nearing an announcement confirming the signing of the Mexican international, who is set to join the first-year club in a reported $12 million move for Monterrey. The 25-year-old No. 10 arrived in Miami on Thursday night and underwent a medical, with an announcement expected in the coming days as contract talks are finalized.
However, with Pizarro now involved, the focus now turns towards what Inter Miami will do with its third and final Designated Player spot. The club has already brought in Matias Pellegrini, a 19-year-old Argentinian winger, with one spot before using their second to bring in their star No. 10 in Pizarro.
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Paul McDonough, the team’s sporting director, admitted that the club isn’t finished, although they will do things on their own terms. The club has been linked to a number of big stars this year, including Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and David Silva, and Inter Miami does have until May 7 to complete a deal for a third and final DP.
McDonough says that the focus is on bringing in a “No. 9 or a two-way midfielder” with that spot, but the club is currently looking for the right fit rather than name recognition.
“With the city of Miami, with the ownership group we have, the ambition, a lot of players want to come here…we’re going through the process of finding out what’s legitimate, what’s not really achievable, because there are some prices that are just not achievable for MLS teams now,” he said, according to the Miami Herald. “The ownership group could do it if they wanted to, but I don’t think it’s responsible for us to open up a blank checkbook and write checks just because an experienced player wants it.
“I can go get a player that has a resale value that can help us win championships. I think that’s more responsible. If it is a veteran player that can help us win and the price is within reason, then that’s ok. We’ll explore that.”
Pizarro offers Miami the best of both worlds. At 25 years old, the Mexican star is heading into his prime years, where he figured to be a key part of Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s national team setup. The midfielder emerged as a key figure for El Tri in 2018, helping guide Mexico to a Gold Cup on the heels of a standout campaign with Monterrey.
It was McDonough’s relationship with Martino that helped pave the way for the signing. McDonough was one of the people responsible for bringing Martino to Atlanta for the club’s expansion season, and the current Mexico boss led Atlanta to an MLS Cup in his second year in charge.
Miami has similar lofty aims and another South American coach with the pedigree to achieve them. Diego Alonso is a two-time Concacaf Champions League winner with his second triumph coming with Pizarro as a key figure at Monterrey.
“He’s a key part for [national team coach] Tata Martino with Mexico,” McDonough said. “I spoke with him about him a lot. Diego obviously knows him really, really well. We think his flexibility to play any of the four spots up front, his work rate, his experience, his age. The fact that he’s won championships in a very, very difficult league in Mexico and he’s played against top European teams in the World Club Championships. It’s just something that really made sense for us to win now.”
He added: “Diego was really, really happy, had a big smile on his face. Our players were really excited about it, waiting, watching in the media. They were kind of wondering when he was going to show up. It was really important for them, too, because they know what kind of player he is.”
While Pizarro does boast that star power, he also has the highly-coveted resale value. McDonough’s initial signings with Atlanta were less focused on big names and more on potential growth, with the club eventually selling star midfielder Miguel Almiron to Newcastle for a massive fee.
Pizarro has made his intentions known, saying that he sees MLS as a better stepping stone to Europe than Liga MX, and the move could be a win-win for both parties if Pizarro shines bright enough to draw overseas interest.
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“I think it’s a bit closer, being there first and then later [in Europe],” he said. “It’s a lot easier from there [in MLS] to Europe.
“[Beckham] spoke to me on video-calls, he told me that he wanted me to come, and from when I spoke to him on the calls it influenced my decision [to come] a lot.
Added McDonough: “I think Pizarro is a star. Maybe not a global star, but in this region, he’s 25 years old, played for the Mexican national team. He’s won, and I would consider Pizarro a star. I understand we’re linked to a lot of players. But my stance has always been I’ll do what I think is right for the team to win. I’m not going to go sign a veteran player just to fill out a quota that he’s a global superstar. If that’s a player that can help us win and we can do it. If not, then it doesn’t make sense. We’re coming to win.”