In pursuit of two players since late last fall, Minnesota United on Monday signed veteran French left-side defender Bakaye Dibassy and remains with the clock ticking firmly in discussions to acquire Argentine attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso when the next MLS transfer window opens next week.
The Loons used targeted-allocation money to sign Dibassy, 30, from French club Amiens. He played in the same leagues from which they acquired right back Romain Metanire — a 2019 MLS All-Star — before last season.
Soccer’s shutdown for three months worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed both negotiations, Loons coach Adrian Heath noted. In a video conference call Monday from Orlando, he called the Reynoso matter “ongoing,” one left to technical director Mark Watson and others in Minnesota while Heath and his coaches concentrate “solely” on winning the MLS is Back Tournament.
In February Heath called his team on the verge of acquiring Reynoso. But complexities involving Reynoso’s Boca Juniors team and other lower-level teams that own part of his rights and agents have complicated negotiations.
“It’s something we’d like to do, and I think it’s something that’s getting closer,” said Heath, whose team plays Orlando City in a tournament semifinal game Thursday. “If we can get it over the line, that’d be great. If we can’t, then we’ll have to move on because it’s getting to the stage where we really need to have a definitive answer one way or the other. If it’s not going to be Reynoso and it has to be somebody else, then that has to be the case.
“We think he’s extremely talented, but it has been going on a long time now and I’d like a resolution one way or the other over the next few weeks, if possible.”
The team’s other quest landed Dibassy, whom Heath calls a “bigger version” of Metanire. The Loons acquired Metanire before last season from the same French leagues in which Dibassy played.
He will fill an international roster spot and join the team after the transfer window opens Aug. 12, one day after the MLS is Back final. His arrival is pending a physical and visa paperwork.
Dibassy adds depth to the Loons’ positions of need and can play either left back or left center back. The Loons start Chase Gasper at left back and have Ike Opara, Michael Boxall, Jose Aja and Brent Kallman on their roster at the two center-back positions. Opara has missed the tournament because of injury.
“It’s another piece, something we know we needed,” Heath said. “We’re really struggling to cover it at center back, and Chase is probably the only left back we have in the club.’’
Heath called Dibassy “a great athlete, can play both positions. He has done both for long periods of time in France. He’s very versatile and we’re so pleased we got it over the line.”
Heath said Metanire trained lightly Monday in Orlando after he missed the team’s 4-1 quarterfinal victory over San Jose on Saturday because of a hamstring injury. The coach sounded doubtful he’ll play Thursday. Hassani Dotson started at right back Saturday.
“We have a few more days to get some work into him,” Heath said. “We all know what an incredible athlete he is. The last thing we need is a badly torn hamstring. If there’s any slight doubt, we’ll continue with Hassani there. He proved the other night he’s an able deputy.”
Attacking midfielder Kevin Molino trained fully the last couple of days and will be available to play, Heath said. Striker Luis Amarilla, on his way back from a groin injury sustained in warmups before the tournament’s first game, is “fine,” he said. Midfielder Thomas Chacon has what Heath called a “slight calf strain.”