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Defenders Jukka Raitala, Rod Fanni and Jorge Corrales and homegrown striker Anthony Jackson-Hamel will not retuning to the Impact next season, while one-time phenom Bojan is a maybe.
The MLS club announced a series of personnel moves Friday, including the departure of the three defenders whose contracts are expiring at the end of this year. The Impact also declined to exercise its option on midfielder Bojan and homegrown striker Jackson-Hamel, but sporting director Olivier Renard said the door was open for Bojan if he’s willing to take a cut in pay.
“We declined the option, but that doesn’t mean (Bojan) won’t come back, we’ll have discussions with his agent,” Renard said.
The 30-year-old Bojan, who was hailed as the next Lionel Messi when he made his debut with Barcelona as a teenager, was a reclamation project when he signed with the Impact last season. He was the MLS player of the week in late October when he scored a goal and added an assist in the 2-1 win over Inter Miami, which kept the Impact in the playoff hunt. But Bojan was limited to four goals in 17 games and there were questions about his fitness.
Renard said the team would not negotiate a new deal with Jackson-Hamel. The Quebec City native scored nine goals in 21 appearances in 2017, but former coach Rémi Garde accused him of being selfish the following season and his stock plummeted. He made only seven MLS appearances this year and failed to score.
The club also did not exercise its option for midfielders Steeven Saba and Shamit Shome. The players will have the opportunity to remain with the team for the CONCACAF Champions League competition next month, but are not required to do so.
The Impact did exercise options for goalkeepers Clément Diop, James Pantemis and Jonathan Sirois, defender Karifa Yao, midfielders Clément Bayiha, Mathieu Choinière, Tomas Giraldo and Amar Sejdic, as well as forwards Romell Quioto and Mason Toye.
Earlier this season, the Impact had also announced loan extensions from Bologna FC for defender Luis Binks and midfielder Lassi Lappalainen, until December 31, 2021. But a third loan, for striker Orji Okwonkwo, has expired
Defenders Zachary Brault-Guillard, Rudy Camacho, Keesean Ferdinand, Mustafa Kizza and Joel Waterman, midfielders Emanuel Maciel, Samuel Piette, Ballou Tabla and Victor Wanyama, as well as striker Maximiliano Urruti, are all under contract for next season.
The Impact return to the pitch on Dec. 15 or 16, for the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final against CD Olimpia, in Orlando, Fla. The Honduran side won the first leg 2-1. The semifinals will take place on Dec. 19 and the final on Dec. 22.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020