• Philippe Germain

      Philippe Germain entreprend en 2012 une 15e année consécutive de couverture des activités de l’Impact de Montréal, notamment neuf saisons à titre de descripteur des matchs de l’équipe à l’antenne de CKAC (2003-2005) et de XM Radio Satellite (2006) et à Radio-Canada (2007-2012) Correspondant pour le magazine britannique World Soccer depuis 2003, il est aussi l’animateur de SoccerPlus, la première baladodiffusion de langue française exclusivement dédiée au ballon rond.

      In 2012, Philippe Germain is entering a 15th straight year covering the Montreal Impact and North American professional soccer, including nine season as the club’s play-by-play man on radio and television. Canadian correspondent for World Soccer since 2003, he’s the host of SoccerPlus, the first French-language soccer podcast in North America.

    • Nesta to Montreal: Good or puzzling?

      The information has yet to be confirmed by club authorities, but several European sources including Italian daily Corriere dello Sport are announcing Alessandro Nesta is joining Les Bleus on a one-year deal.

      First announced in New York several weeks ago, the 36-year-old AC Milan great turned his back on an agreement of principle with the Red Bulls in late June, citing financial differences. He was even quoted by media outlets that he was questioning the idea of pursuing his career in North America.

      After pushing aside discussions to follow the NYRB path, Toronto FC came back in the race — to the point that TFC invited Nesta to Montreal to attend the Canadian derby match of June 27 at Saputo Stadium.

      Up until that point it was understood that the Impact was not in the picture, at least, not seriously.

      The Reds thrashed the Impact 3-0 and spoiled the local's party that was to be the coming out celebration for Montreal’s first DP signing Marco Di Vaio. Nesta was seen on a terrace by the Impact’s offices with a few sidelined Montreal players shortly after the match. Later that night, the Italians went out together in town where sources say the Montrealers tried to convince Nesta that he would feel more at home in a blue, rather than in a red uniform.

      Nesta then left the country to resume his American vacation.

      On the other side of the equation, TFC did confirm interest in Nesta, but rumours of an announcement on Thursday of last week never materialized. CanadianSoccerNews.com talked earlier today of a disagreement on this issue between the pro-Nesta Bob De Klerk and Earl Cochrane/Paul Mariner, thus explaining the delay.

      Back to the Impact following the 3-0 loss. Club president Joey Saputo reacted strongly to his side’s defeat against the Reds giving instructions to team management to start looking for new players. This, the source tells, launched his team’s bid to bring Nesta to La Belle Province.

      Monday, Montreal confirmed putting an offer to Nesta and several players have told SoccerPlus over the weekend that they are more than confident to see the former World Champion return to Saputo Stadium shortly.

      Whether the much decorated defender joins the Impact or not, we need to ask: Will Alessandro Nesta’s coming to Montreal be good or puzzling for the first-year side?

      Let us first look at the positive aspects.

      He’s 36, but Nesta has sufficient talent and experience to help this club. How can Valentin, Camara or Ouimette not benefit, if not from only training with a guy like that? Furthermore, Nesta simply can’t be considered worse than the four dudes who started the match in DC on Saturday?

      Also, Nesta in blue and white can’t hurt ticket sales. Aside from the opening game and Beckham’s visit at the Big O, the results are not there for the sales team this season.

      Nesta to Montreal makes for great headlines across the soccer world. This will also help the club bury the fact that it currently has the worst defensive unit in all of MLS.

      Furthermore, the club is showing a real interest in shaking things up fast. There’s no way Saputo & Co. will let this team drown without a fight. Montreal loves champions and the Impact’s brass is reacting to make sure the club is on top of things as quickly as possible.

      This final point is a double-edged sword.

      How can you pretend you want to build on the mid and long-term when you have nine guys over 30-years-old in your ranks? Of course they are experienced, mature and what not, but this type of player also takes more time to return from injuries, which are more frequent in a league like ours due to a demanding schedule, long flights, limited training and recuperation time and having to play on artificial turf from time to time.

      How will foreign veterans who have played for the best coaches in the world react under the tutelage of a young, American-trained rookie coach?

      With all the respect due to Jesse Marsch, who will certainly enjoy a long MLS career and who does his best with the tools he has, a winless series will undoubtedly raise comparison. How can this not be when your players have been coached by Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelo Lippi, Cesare Prandelli, Claudio Ranieri, Sven-Goran Eriksson or Jose Mourinho?

      How will Joey Saputo and/or Sporting Director Nick DeSantis react when two or three of these costly players will knock at their door requesting changes? Will DeSantis risk his career and return to the sidelines? Will the club move current assistant coach Dennis Hamlett to the dreaded position for the rest of the season? Will they hire a reputed European coach which is far from they proven way to success?

      The biggest deception in all of this is the lack of strategy and vision in the recruitement of players - this starts by the absence of scouting personnel, as promised before the hire of a head coach a year ago.

      The example of Nelson Rivas jumps to mind. Solid when healthy, the 29-year-old had 90 minutes of first team action in the two previous seasons before joining from Inter Milan. The Colombian is back on the injury list after playing only seven of his team’s 18 games this year.

      The Impact’s gamble is clearly to stake everything on the short-term. As soon as Di Vaio was introduced to the press, Joey Saputo said he would resist popular pressure to buy a second DP right away. With several seats empty in the club’s three games since returning to a refurbished Saputo Stadium and subpar results are not making the pressure go away either.

      From this perspective, the possible arrival of Alessandro Nesta could be a great thing for a club otherwise heading towards a playoff-less opening season. Still, there’s a huge risk the acquisition could be puzzling if they miss the mark.

      To put it politely, the margin of error is thin for the Impact, very thin.
      Comments 4 Comments
      1. Soccerpro's Avatar
        Soccerpro -
        The impact knew what they were getting into when they signed Rivas. Nesta and Di Vaio are a gamle, especially for a 1st year heard coach. Mixed signs about where the club is going.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        This puts a broader perspective on what has been written on CSN by Duane. He might not have gotten it right but he was the first one to report the interest is there and now it seems Joey is trying to steal it out from under Toronto's nose
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Unless TFC is able to free up a DP spot, this deal isn't going to happen here, even if they freed up $ by jettisoning the likes of Aceval and Harden along with the Plata loan deal. A free DP spot would be a definite gamechanger for TFC's chances.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        NYRB offered him $125,000, a flat in SoHo and the promise of a DP contract in 2013.

        Given that Toronto is likely to part ways with Julian at the end of this year, that is a deal that could very much be done in Toronto
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