Dan Hunt talks transfers – doesn’t see another midseason departure

FC Dallas President Dan Hunt took part in a media call on Thursday, speaking surprisingly candidly about several aspects of FC Dallas’ transfer policies.

One such policy that has been brought up in FCD’s two recent high profile sales has been sell-on percentages. A selling club will often cede some of the up-front fee in order to receive either a portion of the player’s next transfer fee or specifically the profit.

In the case of high potential players, this is betting that the value of that percentage will surpass the amount given up in the short term. Hunt confirmed that as a basic consideration in player sales.

“It was a great transfer window for us,” said Hunt to reporters. “And we continue to retain economics in players in Europe. I think that’s something we’ve been incredibly thoughtful about, owning percentages of the players. We will not transfer a player out of here without retaining part of their economic rights and so it’s just a system that we continue to grow. I want to be at the forefront, I want to be the leader. This is traditionally how it’s done globally.”

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Bryan Reynolds in training for AS Roma (AS Roma/Twitter)

In nurturing those talents, we’ve seen a shift in the intermediary locations. Where players not receiving minutes may find their way to a local USL Championship team on a week-by-week loan while still training in Frisco, Brandon Servania has bucked the trend in finding opportunities outside of the country with fewer day-to-day restrictions in a loan to Austrian side SKN St. Polten with some assistance from one of FC Dallas’ development partners.

“It’s a continued pathway here as we develop players,” said Hunt. “With Brandon, he’s obviously an incredibly high level, Brandon is a very talented player. He didn’t have the 2020 that he had wanted and obviously he was limited by injuries. There are markets like Austria that we’re a big believer in and Bayern has a good relationship there at St. Polten”

Hunt has a firm target of 2,000 minutes per year to aid a player’s development. For 18-year-olds who can play for the academy and North Texas SC, that’s a realistic goal, but USL League One has nothing left to offer the likes of Servania.

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Tyler Booth (middle) and Brandon Servania (right) post with SKN St. Pölten Sports Director Georg Zellhofer.

This shouldn’t be taken as a damning indictment of North Texas SC, but the level has nothing to offer a US Men’s National Team capped player while in Austria there are the challenges posed by the likes of former Philadelphia Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson and his Red Bull Salzburg side.

“We think that the Austrian league is a very good league,” continued Hunt. “The Portuguese league is also a good league in those opportunities, so we’re going to become more and more open to loaning players out to guarantee that they get good professional minutes. That’s what’s going to make FC Dallas better. That’s what’s going to make these players better and achieve their ultimate value, whether it’s playing here for the first team or moving on to a club internationally.”

Hunt also touched on the thought process in Dallas’ dealings domestically after Michael Barrios expressed his surprise at being traded to the Colorado Rapids in an interview with Al Dia this week.

“We had talked about a contract extension with [Barrios],” Hunt explained to reporters. “He also had the thought that he may want to stay in Colombia, he had expressed that through his agent. He was sort of in a lot of different spaces and as we evaluated the situation, we thought it was maybe time for us all to try something different with it. It’s always a little bit bittersweet to see somebody like that go, somebody that we love as a club. Mikey still has good years in front of him, but you constantly have to refresh your squad.”

One trend in MLS’ calendar is the number of outgoing midseason transfers as the main transfer window in Europe rolls around. It’s something with the potential to derail a season, or at least draw the ire of fans, unhappy at the sight of a player leaving halfway through the campaign.

Lamar Hunt’s youngest son doesn’t see such an issue looming in 2021 as FC Dallas targets the only domestic competition it has yet to win.

“I would be hard-pressed to tell you that we would probably have an in-season transfer this year,” said Hunt. “If it is, it may be a younger player.”

“I don’t know how it goes but sometimes you could see the writing on the wall for players like Fabian Castillo or Mauro Diaz,” Hunt continued. “You knew their contracts were coming up and what their desires were. And also you have to kind of analyze it as you go. Carlos Gruezo was another one that you could forecast and see that coming, but I feel real good that we’re gonna keep this group intact and compete for a championship. That’s the goal here, I want to lift MLS Cup in 2021. Obviously, I want to win everything, and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is near and dear to my heart and the supporter shield, but we need to take that next step as an organization and lift the cup.”

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Dante Sealy takes part in the open day of FC Dallas training, March 3, 2021. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

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