Raul Guzman reported on Twitter that U.S. international Mix Diskerud will sign with Club Tijuana on a free transfer. If the deal goes through, this would put an end to Crew SC's chase of the Nowegian born midfielder. The team made a big offer for him in August in an attempt to entice him stateside. Ultimately this might turn out for the best as I think he's the wrong player for Crew SC for two reasons, he doesn't fill a need and his signing would come at a significant opportunity cost.
First, the idea that Diskerud doesn't fill a need. Columbus couldn't use a U.S. International? To answer my own question: Yes, they certainly could, but I don't think it would make Crew SC that much better. This is based on the idea that "Teams Are Only As Good As Their Worst Player", and Crew SC's worst player isn't in midfield.
Let's examine where Diskerud plays best. He is a wonderful player, but his best position is up for debate. He's either a "No 10" creator or a multitalented "No. 8" midfielder. A recent article by Top Drawer Soccer's Will Parchman looks at Diskerud's deployment with the U.S. National Team. He's been used as a No. 10 by Jurgen Klinsmann and it hasn't been very successful. Diskerud's recent performances have been subpar in the role - he was eclipsed by Lee Nguyen's cameo against Ireland in November. As a replacement for Higuain, he'd likely be a step down in the current system.
So Mix really wouldn't be an ideal No. 10, but he'd likely be an excellent No. 8. He's smart and plays excellent passes. He keeps play moving. The only problem is that Crew SC already have a player like that, Tony Tchani. Mix would be an improvement over Tchani in some very valuable ways, but he lacks the physicality, which has been valuable for Wil Trapp's emergence as a ball spraying regista.
If Mix is seen as a replacement for Tchani, that's an upgrade for the team on offense, but not on defense, where the team requires the central midfield to do the heavy lifting. Tchani is the high energy everyman in midfield that makes the team work. He led all players in MLS in recoveries in 2014. Additionally, that upgrade isn't as valuable as finding a right back or forward. Columbus is far thinner and needs more competition at both of those spots where as central midfield has already been augmented and is fairly solid. Giving Kei Kamara or Hector Jimenez competition is more valuable that giving Tchani competition.
The second reason comes down to opportunity cost. Bringing in Mix would require a designated player spot, a designated player spot that couldn't be used on someone else.. MLS teams get three DP slots and a team like Crew SC have been - and will continue to be - frugal in spending DP money. A second DP isn't a given and a third stretches the imagination.
Without Columbus currently has three forwards on the roster with only Kai Kamara as an experienced option. Enticing an above average forward to come to town may require Designated Player money. Signing Mix narrows the range of options the team can bring in a big dollar positions like forward.
I'm disappointed I won't see any Mix/Kenny Loggins tifo mashups, but it does ensure I continue to see Tony Tchani as the team's enforcer in midfield. Columbus run at Diskerud during the summer shows that Berhalter was certainly interested, but now it looks like that interest is finally done. Ultimately it may have worked out best for all involved.