FC Cincinnati: The impossible Jurgen Locadia decision

Jurgen Locadia will return to Brighton this summer at the end of his loan contract. FC Cincinnati have a decision to make, but with limited information, it is impossible to do so with sound reasoning.

The coronavirus has put the entire football season on hold. Around the world, leagues have shut down, been postponed, or even been cancelled altogether. Everyone is dealing with the global pandemic in different ways, some of them less successful than others.

The knock-on effects are massive. Perhaps no other aspect of the sport is more impacted than the transfer market. Of course, there is the financial impact. Teams have not played matches in two months and have lost almost all of their revenue as a result. Spending in the transfer window will be limited as a result.

But there are other, logistical impacts as well. One of these is having to make decisions on players with far less information than normal. Whereas in normal circumstances a team would have half a season of evidence to draw conclusions on players, who they might sign, who they might sell or keep, and how they will go about building the team, in this instance, major decisions will be made without sufficient sample sizes to make well-reasoned judgements.

For no team is this more problematic than FC Cincinnati.

After retooling their squad in the offseason following a historically poor first season in Major League Soccer, FC Cincinnati signed Jurgen Locadia on a six-month loan deal from Premier League side, Brighton and Hove Albion. He was one of three new Designated Players and represented an entirely new offensive look.

Locadia’s loan spell runs out in the summer. He says he wants to stay. “My first experiences in MLS (have) been great,” Locadia told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s my dream to stay here. It’s my goal. I had a conversation with my agent that it was my goal to stay here. He got in contact with Brighton, but it’s between the clubs now I guess. They know I want to stay here.”

But FC Cincinnati must decide whether they want to keep him, something that Locadia concedes is extremely uncertain at present given the financial pressures the club is under due to COVID-19.

“The income from every club is down, so it’s harder now to buy players or even loan for clubs,” Locadia admitted. “That could be a problem in the future. In my case, Cincinnati have the option to buy me out and I don’t know. I’d understand if they would not want to buy the option because it’s a crisis right now, there’s no income.”

There is another factor at play here. Not only must Cincinnati deal with the financial strains of the current period, they must make a decision on whether to keep Locadia or not based on very little evidence whatsoever. Locadia played 86 Premier League minutes last August. He then transferred to Hoffenheim for six months during the first half of the European season. He played only 588 minutes, though did score four goals.

Then, in January, he made the switch to FC Cincinnati. He scored from off the bench in the season-opener versus the New York Red Bulls and then played 90 minutes against Atlanta United. Since then, the league has been postponed. That is the sample size that Cincinnati have to make their decision.

They could ask for an extension of his loan, which you would think Brighton would be happy to approve. He has two years remaining on his Brighton contract so they would not reach the point where he can leave for free if they agreed to a six-month or even year-long extension.

Next: MLS: 3 players set to breakout in 2020

Nevertheless, at some point, FC Cincinnati will have to make a decision on Locadia. And with the information at hand, it is an impossible one to make.

Load Comments