'There are certainly more players available' - Inter Miami's McDonough on adjusting to coronavirus-impacted transfer market

Goal.com

It was no secret that this was going to be a big summer for Inter Miami.

In the lead up to the club's debut season, the MLS expansion side made two Designated Player signings: Mexican star Rodolfo Pizarro and Argentine youngster Matias Pellegrini. The two were expected to be a key part of the club's attacking core but, in the entire run up to the club's launch, Miami didn't promise "key pieces"; they promised stars.

That star was widely expected to come in the summer. It's a time that is more conducive for big-money business. Clubs are ready to deal once the domestic season is over, with most of the game's biggest transfers being made in the summer rather than the month-long winter window.

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It's also a time where players are out of contract, allowing some of the game's biggest stars to move for free and, in a salary-capped league like MLS, free is always preferred.

Like all clubs, Inter Miami are now scrambling to reconfigured their summer plans. The coronavirus outbreak has led to plenty of uncertainty all over the world, and one added after-effect of that uncertainty will likely be a limited transfer market.

With many clubs losing money and many leagues still working out how, when and if to conclude their domestic season, there are a lot more questions than answers across the sport right now.

MLS, meanwhile, has always operated in their own little world when it comes to the transfer market. With the league's summer schedule, many of the biggest signings occur midseason, while several of the league's top young stars have been poached by European clubs at inopportune times.

This year, the season was only two games old when Covid-19 hit, and there's little certainty when it comes to where and how the league will resume.

When it does resume, it could be in a unique place to attract talent. Due to the league's single-entity structure, MLS is relatively stable, although the lack of income from ticket sales will certainly have an impact.

Compared to many overseas counterparts, MLS clubs' finances are, generally, more secure thanks to the centralized ownership and salary cap, which prevents big spending and high wage budgets.

Because of that, the league may be in a unique place to take advantage of signings this summer and, with the club's status as one of the premier destinations in the league, that could be a major lift to Inter Miami's hopes of bringing in that big star.

"It's going to be very interesting, the economic impact on the transfer markets," said Inter Miami COO and sporting director Paul McDonough. "All clubs have suffered significant losses. In certain parts of the world, losses are more significant. I think there will be a transfer market, but I think the transfer valuations on players will probably change going forward."

He added: "We've always said we wanted to try and sign two more players this year. We're constantly looking at players and trying to gauge the market and see what becomes available. There are certainly more players available now that weren't available prior to the leagues shutting down. A lot of those availabilities are due to financial stress that the clubs are under."

In recent weeks, this new situation has seen the amount of players linked to Inter Miami skyrocket, which is rather impressive considering the sheer amount of stars rumored to be interested since the club's inception.

Links to players like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and David Silva have been persistent, while, in recent weeks, Gareth Bale, Arturo Vidal and James Rodriguez have been listed among the club's potential targets.

McDonough addressed some of those targets over the past week, saying that Vidal, Bale and James are all fantastic players, but, as the sport continues to sort itself out over the next few weeks and months, those sorts of links will persist.

However, McDonough and Inter Miami are in no rush. Given all of the uncertainty, the club isn't going to dive too far in just yet. Players only returned for limited training on Tuesday and, as of now, there's still no concrete plan for when MLS returns. Until that point, the club will continue to evaluate and hope that the right opportunity pops up whenever that time may be.

"This is this has really changed everything," McDonough said. "What happens to the windows? Can you appeal to FIFA and try to get an extension on your windows or change them? What are the roster rules with substitutions? 

"So we're evaluating everything as we go, we're looking. We know that it's still, whether we had players this summer or even for next January, we're constantly evaluating and looking at players and trying to see how we can strengthen the team."

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