So, Minnesota United already hates Atlanta United. They claim we "stole" their name, we're plastic fans and constantly remind us the AUFC season doesn't starts until 2017. Well, I'm a huge fan of poking the bear. Therefore, I believe Atlanta United should try stealing Minnesota United striker Christian Ramirez.
One of the fun things about MLS is that goals can be scored at virtually any moment. It's a wacky, screwy league that allows those who take advantage to capitalize on the mistakes of defenders. It also is a league for guys with a knack for scoring goals. Ramirez is just that. He's a player that will use whatever edge he has to his advantage, he has scored some ridiculous goals this year, AND, his contract with Minnesota ends next year.
Over the weekend, Ramirez recorded his first professional hat-trick, two of those goals a direct result of mistakes by defenders. The first came off a bad clearance Ramirez was able to volley into the net like a seasoned pro. The second came off another defensive miscue - a lazy pass Ramirez jumped on and slotted past the charging Carolina keeper. The third was more of a traditional striker's goal. The performance earned Ramirez NASL Player of the Week honors.
If you've followed NASL soccer through the year, Ramirez's name has come up in the social media conversation more than once. He started the year with a ridiculous goal from outside the box and within the first two minutes of the opening match. He's a striker who is constantly looking to shoot on goal. He's like the offensive version of former Braves shortstop, Andrelton Simmons. Simmons was always looking for the next out. Ramirez is always looking for the next goal. It's a trait some strikers think they have, but don't always fully utilize.
Minnesota United leads the NASL in goals with 21, eight of those coming from Ramirez in just 11 matches. Additionally, Ramirez is tied for most shots attempted in the league with 26. He accounts for nearly 40 percent of the MNUFC attack and leads the league in goals. Like most, I can't believe he hasn't been included in any MLS transfer rumors.
I still can’t believe no one in MLS has been tempted by Christian Ramirez. Young, American, and has bags of talent: https://t.co/vJy4PlN3Lb— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) July 3, 2016
Minnesota going to have a tough time holding on to Christian Ramirez https://t.co/LEv7OIsTQt— Champagne Soccer Co. (@ChampgneSoccer) July 3, 2016
So, here's how Atlanta United can poach a great player: It's still not super clear if Minnesota United will begin play in 2017 (we're less than a year away from the 2017 season and the Minnesota expansion franchise still hasn't been formally announced). Ramirez belongs in MLS and the fact that he hasn't been rumored with any other teams is good for any team that may be interested in his services. His contract is set to end November of 2017, but if Minnesota doesn't start MLS play as scheduled, it may be easy to persuade Ramirez to a new and longer contract worth more money in a top tier league. Ramirez could easily be bought right now and sent to the Charleston Battery to finish the year before entering 2017 camp with Atlanta United. Since Minnesota United isn't TECHNICALLY an MLS team yet, the rules for Discovery Claims shouldn't be a factor.
I'm also pretty sure Arthur Blank's pockets may be a bit deeper than those of the Minnesota United ownership should any kind of a bidding war actually take place.
Minnesota United fans would certainly not like this, but I couldn't fault a player like Ramirez for trying to get the most out of his career and get paid early rather than waiting to see what happens with Minnesota United. Based on the show he's putting on this year in NASL, I would certainly welcome him with open arms as an Atlanta United supporter.
Plus, it would be fun to poke Minnesota by stealing their best player.