Inter Miami are reportedly set to hire two-time CCL winner Diego Alonso. It is a good hire, but is it out of panic or was this the plan all along?
Inter Miami finally made their move. With their inaugural 2020 season now a little over two months away, the newly expanded Major League Soccer giant had to start putting plans in place for the upcoming campaign.
While rumours circled at a ridiculous rate of what players would be joining David Beckham on his Florida escapade or which manager will lead the team, with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Carlo Ancelotti linked to the role, there was very little action.
For all of the furore, fuss and fascination surrounding Miami, there was very little tangible progress for a team of which much was expected, unfairly or not. And so, the need for genuine and significant progress was great, starting with the head coach.
Good news, then, that this week Inter Miami officially unveiled their new head coach, Diego Alonso, formerly of Monterrey where he won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2019. Alonso also won the CCL in 2016 with Pachuca, the only manager to win the competition twice with two different teams. He won the 2016 Clausura title with Pachuca as well as leading Monterrey to the 2018 Apertura final.
He is one of the most successful coaches in Mexican football history and comes to MLS with a resume as impressive as any hire in recent history. Like with Guillermo Barros Schelotto in LA and Matias Almeyda in San Jose before him, Alonso will arrive in Miami as a bonafide coaching superstar.
This all sounds fine and dandy, right? Certainly, if you were to ask Inter Miami, they would say so. In a statement, Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough stated:
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"“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans. He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas. We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”"
But while this may all be true, the process must be questioned, and subsequently, the final decision must be cast into doubt also. Managing owner Jorge Mas said at the expansion draft that a decision had been made but the club was waiting to publicly announce it. He also said that individual had input in which players were selected. The expansion draft, however, was held on November 19th, over a month ago. Why the delay?
And given that the season is now looming at the turn of the year, it is reasonable to ask if Miami have panicked and simply hired any manager who happens to be half-decent and is currently out of work? If that is the case, they have done pretty well. Alonso is an excellent manager with an excellent record, but it is hardly the most comforting of developments to know that he was not part of the plan.
Perhaps, as Mas says, this was part of the plan all along. And in the end, getting a coach of Alonso’s calibre perhaps negates the concern with whether this was part of the process or just sheer panic. But at best, Miami have handled this whole business poorly, and that reflects badly on their operations and the future decisions they will have to make. At worst, they have panic-hired the wrong man.