The designated player question

July, 19, 2010
7/19/10
9:23
AM CT
You have probably read by now that Nery Castillo has signed on as he newest DP for the Chicago Fire. I mention it in this space because Castillo is a player I lobbied for FC Dallas to sign as a DP for years. Castillo, in my mind, was the kind of top tier talent and name that was worth signing as a DP.

At 26, I grant you he hasn't fulfilled the promise that he demonstrated when he burst onto the international radar at the 2007 Copa América. But I'm also quite sure by now he doesn't cost the $27.5 million transfer fee Shakhtar Donetsk paid for him. The Chicago deal is a loan deal, the third Castillo's had at Shakhtar, with an option to buy.

There has long been a debate in soccer circles on how one should spends one's DP money. Do you go the Beckham route and sign a aging superstar to sell some jerseys like New York has now done with Thierry Henry? Do you go with unknown but promising youth which may not pan out like Houston did with Luis Landin? How about an American Star like Landon Donovan? Let's face it American stars don't cost what European stars cost. Do you try and sign a player like Castillo, once such a huge star that flamed out a bit but perhaps could still be in the prime of his career? MLS can't sign true big name top of their career players, MLS just can't afford it. Christian Ronaldo cost about twice what a single MLS franchise does.

I have always advocated spending all the money on talent and ignoring the off the field marketing value of a Beckham name when it comes to DPs. That's easy for me to say though, it's not my money in play. I applauded the Landin signing when Houston made it, although clearly he was a complete bust, scouting still matters guys. For me the play on the field is the thing, win and the rest will follow.

FC Dallas, the one time they tried a DP, they went with an older player. They (and by they I mean Dan Hunt) felt Denilson still brought serious game to the table. There was less emphasis on the name and marketing in the move, although Michael Hitchcock sure tried to hype it up. So in one sense FCD tried to DP the way I think they should DP, talent first. They just happened, like Houston, to misfire on that talent. Full credit to Steve Morrow for fighting against Hitch and Hunt to make sure Denilson was on a one year deal.

This may be a moot exercise frankly, as one insider type told me, "the Hunt's consider David Ferreira as their DP." Even though, technically he's not a DP, he just gets paid a lot compared to how the Hunts think.

But let's put that aside for a minute and have a little fun. If FCD was going to sign a DP, how should FCD spend their money? Marketing? Talent? A mixture of some kind?

Which DP would you like to see in a FCD jersey?

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