Three major questions hovered over FC Cincinnati when MLS suspended the 2020 regular season on March 12.
The first and second were when would the season resume, and if the club would have a head coach by then. We now know it’ll be July 8 and with Jaap Stam.
The third one was arguably the trickiest: How would FCC and Brighton & Hove Albion handle Jürgen Locadia’s loan deal, which was set to expire July 5?
FCC, Brighton and Locadia agreed to the initial loan deal on the assumption the forward would’ve played up to 20 matches by that date.
Instead, he’s played in two matches for a combined 116 minutes.
After scoring in his MLS debut, it’s clear Locadia possesses impressive finishing quality and could be a proven scorer on a team that bottomed the league in goals scored last season. In short, he’s a great addition.
But with the MLS is Back Tournament not beginning until July 8 – three days after the original end date of the loan – there was a chance Cincinnati would either sign the Dutchman on a permanent deal based off two appearances, or would send back Locadia back to his parent club in the English Premier League.
Thankfully, the club can decide answer that question next June.
By extending Locadia’s loan through June 30, 2021, not only will FCC have another 12 months to decide if they want to sign him permanently, but Stam will be able to coach the Designated Player now through the first handful of matches at West End Stadium – at a minimum.
Why this deal is great for FCC
There’s still time to decide whether or not the club wants to sign Locadia, and that decision won’t have to be answered during a global pandemic.
The Orange and Blue still have a permanent transfer option, and if they trigger it, the forward is under contract through the 2023 season.
Keeping No. 10 on the roster is a huge bonus for FC Cincinnati, a club already adjusting to a new coach that didn’t need to adjust to a sans-Locadia squad.
Why this deal works for Locadia
Photo by Michael Millay
He mentioned previously to the Cincinnati Enquirer that he wanted to stay in MLS with FCC. He’ll be able to for at least another 12 months, with the opportunity for a permanent move.
Remember, he was playing in the German Bundesliga with 1899 Hoffenheim and his loan with the club was cancelled so that he could join the Orange and Blue. Rather than only play twice and wonder what his MLS experience could’ve been, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to lead the Cincinnati attack moving forward.
Why this works for Brighton & Hove Albion
Locadia is still a player for the club, and he’ll either return to the southern English coast as one of their players still, or Brighton can sell him to Cincinnati on a permanent deal.
At a time when the club is fighting to remain in the Premier League, this contract extension is one less thing to need to urgently address.