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More South America shopping by D.C. United
by Ridge Mahoney, December 5th, 2007 7AM



The pursuit of Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron by D.C. United has reached the stage that Veron's wife has reportedly been hunting for homes in the area. Veron, 32, has been playing in Argentina for Estudiantes while D.C. tries to work out a deal that won't necessarily cost the club a DP slot. But it doesn't have the big chunks of allocation money it had last winter when it acquired Brazilians Fred and Luciano Emilio, and it may or may not have additional salary cap space that would be created by the possible departures of Bolivian Jaime Moreno (unlikely) and Argentine Christian Gomez (possible).

D.C. coach Tom Soehn was among the MLS contingent that attended a player combine in Argentina last month and he also spent time with a couple of clubs, according to a source.

No team has a better track record at signing South American players who can flourish in MLS - aside from occasional blips like Matias Donnet and Lucio Filomeno - and D.C. is supposedly willing to use a DP slot on Veron if necessary, but also needs to clarify its cap situation to handle the $400,000 DP hit it will incur if Veron is signed by that mechanism.

When MLS first adopted the DP option, Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis emphasized that teams wouldn't be able to commingle funds, i.e., use allocation money to help pay for a DP. But since allocation money can be used to acquire and sign new players (as well as re-sign those a team already has under contract) this rather arbitrary delineation has been questioned by a few teams.

D.C could benefit by the MLS regulation that a team receives approximately two-thirds of a transfer fee when a player is sold to a foreign club. Not all of the money can be plowed directly back into acquisitions; the MLS Competition Committee decides on what portion can be so used. The problem is, D.C. has precious few players with a high value in the transfer market.

Gomez is sitting tight to see what offers are forthcoming. Emilio has been making noises about a new deal after scoring 20 goals on a contract worth $265,000 (base) last season.

Defender Bobby Boswell fell out of favor in 2007 after a very good 2006 season yet would a team offer up more than a draft pick for him?

San Jose coach Frank Yallop has three major allocations (supposedly worth $250,000 each) to help build his expansion team and would be an obvious target if D.C. wanted to trade picks and/or players for cash.

While on the subject of money, mention must be made that Chelsea paid about $60 million for Ukrainian forward Andriy Shevchenko and his contract still has two-and-a-half years to run. That's where the bidding starts.


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