We all see the names: Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Gio Dos Santos, and most of us know why D.C. United is not involved on that bidding. Steve Goff talked about why. But apparently there is still some confusion as to why names like Diego Valeri, Ignacio Piatti and lesser known yet somewhat productive Designated Players can come to Major League Soccer and D.C. is not involved with those, and the reason for that is just the same as the reason why they're not in on the mega stars:
They don't have the money.
I'm going to repeat this for additional clarity:
They. Have. No. Money.
Not for one chicken McNugget in the Kids' Meal, not to have the coke poured in their hands that they can drink from it without a cup. They have no money, neither for any part of the fee, nor for the salary. To consider otherwise is folly. Because it requires an additional investment of time and resources that they do not currently have. So you can't make trips down to Argentina like Jason Kreis did to pursue the right kind of players to incorporate into your team and build around, a la Javier Morales.
Consider some of the players they have been presented in varying degrees. These are players that have been attached to the team in some manner or fashion in the last 18 months:
Alexander Robinson: Trialed with the team in Texas only to be spurned, now in Guatemala.
Paulo Cesar Arango: Released from Columbian club with Leonard Pajoy, now in Columbian second division.
Jobi McAnuff: Out of contract with Reading before signing with Leyton Orient in League Two.
They've signed people too:
Christian Fernandez: Came in on a free, left to a Spanish second division team.
Branko Boskovic: In on a free, went back to Rapid Vienna for family reasons and some injury-plagued time with D.C.
You can see the common thread here, right? Castoffs, free players, guys who require as little investment as possible, because that's what the team has at the moment. Which is why staying in the League to acquire players, guys who have been vetted through game film, peer testimonials, etc., will remain the norm for D.C. for some time. Despite how much D.C. are in first, they are still a roster full to the brim, until Eddie Johnson's inevitable retirement and Michael Seaton finds a loan deal for playing time, not an iota will change. When it does, it will be for smaller moves, and nothing that ventures into seven figures.
Shoot, take a look at who Inter Milan (who Erick Thohir also owns) has acquired in their window: short of Geoffrey Kongdogbia, the incoming moves have been low-cost deals (compared to the rest of Europe) or loans. Granted, some of this was to avoid any potential Financial Fair Play sanctions, but also Thohir and management had been discussing this before FFP was going to occur. Considering how Inter used to spend money, it's like telling your divorced Uncle that he needs to cut down on the booze, he never listens to you and then one day he says, "You know? Maybe I'll cool it for a bit." If Inter is doing it, you know that D.C. is doing it. And if D.C. is attached to anyone that is even remotely familiar, you know you'll hear something about it, either here or from elsewhere.
The fact of the matter is D.C. won't be signing a player that requires an investment of resources until the time comes, whenever that may be. And when they do, know that it will be someone you do not expect, if what they've explored so far is any indication.