While it seems ridiculous, rumors continue to link D.C. United's South American trip to Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano. But what do these rumors say about United's scouting operations more generally?
When I first saw this rumor floated, I considered it a ridiculous piece of fun, something about which D.C. United fans could dream with the new money that is in the club without any chance of it ever happening. And after reading all of these stories, they seem to reference each other as sources and trade in vagaries. But I would be remiss if I did not tell you that multiple papers out of Brazil and Portugal say that D.C. United is indeed interested in Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano and will spend at least part of their time in South America talking to Sao Paulo, the club to which he is signed until 2015.
And still, the math looks impossible. Fabiano's transfer fee was over 7 million Euros and his quality of play has remained excellent; that number would have to be significantly lower for their to be even a chance for United to negotiate a salary with him. If I had to put a percentage on it, I would probably give it no more than a 5% chance of happening, and probably much lower. But where there is smoke, sometimes there is also a fire. Ben Olsen and company may very well be inquiring about Fabiano, because why not ask? As Craig Stouffer reported, while Argentina is their base of operations for this 10 day trip, the team will be scouting players in other countries as well. I cannot fault them for asking or even for taking a meeting with the Sao Paulo front office to see if there is any possibility of something happening.
Lost in all of this shuffle has been the fact that Kurt Morsink has been on a number of scouting trips during the season, something that D.C. United has never been able to do before hiring him. We have made fun of the idea of Morsink as a scout, but having someone who brings back first hand impressions, makes recordings that weren't created by the team or the player and put on YouTube, and puts D.C. United into the minds of these clubs and their officials will allow the club to better use its offseason scouting trips more efficiently. Even if that is all Morsink does, without any player evaluation, it is well worth it. I am in favor of any change that reduces the chances of the team signing more players like Christian Castillo, Rodrigo Brasesco, and Pablo Hernandez and really susses out players with real talent. Expect a South American striker on the team next year not named Luis Fabiano, but this time expect that he can perform here in MLS.