Houston Dynamo: Mauro Manotas deserves European chance

Mauro Manotas appears he could be headed to Ligue 1 in the near future. If true, the Houston Dynamo striker thoroughly deserves the offer that may be coming his way.

This weekend, yet another report surfaced stating that Houston Dynamo striker Mauro Manotas could be on his way out of the Texan club. Since the summer, reports have been coming in left and right about the possible departure of the 24-year-old striker.

But now in the offseason, at the end of a campaign, it seems as though he could finally be on his way, a move to Ligue 1 the most likely outcome according to media reports.

Manotas has put together a successful career with the Dynamo that has led to the interest of European clubs. For three consecutive Major League Soccer seasons, he has scored 10 or more goals. In 2018, he notched an impressive 19 goals in 33 appearances.

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France would be an interesting destination for Manotas. The three clubs mentioned in the report are Nantes, Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne. At the Ligue 1 winter break, all three clubs are in the fighting for European places, and with a tight battle brewing for the third and fourth place spots in the table, which would mean Champions League football, Manotas could find himself playing in the world’s premier club competition in the near future.

There would be pressure. Manotas would be heading into a situation where he would need to produce immediately. For instance, despite their current place of fifth in the Ligue 1 table, Nantes have only scored 17 goals this season, which is the second-fewest in the top half of the table. Manotas could be viewed as the solution to their goalscoring problems. He must therefore produce from the moment he steps off the plane.

Similarly, Saint-Etienne have not gotten a whole lot of production from the listed strikers on their roster. They have been relying on goals from their two wingers Denis Bouanga and Romain Hamouma. Manotas would be viewed as the goalscoring center-forward to tip Saint-Etienne over the edge.

Out of three Ligue 1 clubs interested, Montpellier are in the best offensive position and have scored 26 goals thus far. But with reports surfacing that Olivier Giroud will not return to his home club, the door may have opened for Manotas at Montpellier.

The Dynamo have certainly been aware that Manotas’ time with the club may be coming to a close soon. They added Darwin Quintero in the offseason and signed former LAFC striker Christian Ramirez during the summer. They might also dip into the depths of Uruguay to find a future replacement for Manotas. The pre-planning is there for a sale to now be completed.

Although the club would be losing their ever reliant striker, the offer at hand for Manotas is one that he absolutely deserves. At just 24, there is still plenty of time for him to have a big impact at a club and further develop.

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The opportunity to play in one of the top European leagues is one he has absolutely deserved through his consistency and contribution to the club. And the Houston Dynamo would be foolish to stand in his way.

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