FC Cincinnati have extended Jurgen Locadia’s loan through to next summer. They also have a permanent option included. The deal is the perfect structure.
In the offseason, FC Cincinnati entirely overhauled their squad. After a disastrous 2019, their first in Major League Soccer, in which they finished dead last in the Eastern Conference, the club was keen to essentially start again.
Many questioned their initial moves before they entered MLS. The lack of a general manager. The seeming absence of clear direction and definition. The results in 2019 were not a surprise to many, bar those at the club who were blinded by their own expectation.
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However, they quickly learned their lesson, recognised the gulf in class between the USL and MLS, and started to build a team that is capable of performing at a higher level. One of the key moves they made was to sign Brighton striker, Jurgen Locadia, on a six-month loan deal.
Locadia arrived as one of the three new Designated Players. Alongside Siem de Jong and Yuya Kubo, the centre-forward was signed to reinvigorate an attack that scored only 31 goals in 34 games, six fewer than anyone else in the league. It was a smart deal, if only for the first half of the season.
Due to the pandemic, of course, Locadia played just two matches for FC Cincinnati before the season was suspended. He scored from off the bench in his first outing against the New York Red Bulls, before then starting in the Week 2 defeat to Atlanta United. It seemed as though that might be the end of his time at the club as he returned to Brighton at the end of his loan deal.
However, FC Cincinnati were keen to keep Locadia, he was keen to stay, and Brighton were happy to have his wages off the books. As such, the trio came to an agreement to extend his loan deal for another year, until June 2021. The permanent option to buy that was included in the initial deal remains.
It is the perfect type of deal for Cincinnati. They get to keep a European-level centre-forward who excelled for PSV in the Eredivisie without having to commit to a long-term contract, potentially finding themselves tied to a DP deal that squanders one of their three slots, just as they did last year with Fanendo Adi.
Equally, should Locadia excel with the team, as is highly possible given his pedigree and desire to succeed in MLS as he has publicly admitted, they do not have to negotiate a permanent transfer fee to get him. If they want him, he is theirs, without any negotiation or competition from outside parties.
All in all, then, re-signing Locadia to a year-long loan while keeping the permanent transfer clause in the deal is the perfect structure for FC Cincinnati. Perhaps they are finally learning their lessons from their disastrous team-building of 2019.