Loan agreements are soccer’s version of first-dates.
If everything goes well in the short period of time that a club temporarily adds a player on loan, a long term deal will usually follow.
Revolution General Manager Mike Burns is hoping that Charlie Davies and the Revolution have a good first-date.
Davies signed with the Revolution on loan from Denmark’s Randers FC for the remainder of the season last Friday. Sources say that the agreement also includes a purchase option.
From an administrative perspective, a loan is a chance for a team to gauge how a player fits in and whether they're worth the financial capital for a long term deal. For the player, getting loaned is a chance to revive a career, seek more playing time, or a much-needed escape to somewhere new. Davies seems to be looking for all of the above.
“It's advantageous for the player and the club,” said Burns of loan agreements in a phone interview. “It gives Charlie the opportunity to see the club and for the club to get him in. It's a chance to evaluate each other, so to speak.”
Davies, who will practice with the Revolution on Tuesday, has a huge opportunity in this upcoming tour of duty in MLS. His career is in need of serious revival: he has yet to rediscover his full form following a horrific car accident he was part of in 2009.
He has had little playing time with Randers, where he hasn’t scored a goal in his year and a half tenure with the club. He hasn't been in the US national team picture, where he was once a rising star, since the accident either. And, according to Burns, Davies was looking forward to a change of scenery.
“He wanted to play in New England,” explained Burns. “We’ve known and watched Charlie. I remember when he was at BC, he scrimmaged against us a few times. He grew up in the area. He has family and friends from the New England area, which was important to us when we evaluated the situation.”
Though Davies, who is from Manchester, NH, hasn’t been a prolific scorer in Europe since the car accident, there is reason to believe that he will succeed in New England. For one, he’s performed well in MLS before. In 2011, he went on loan to DC and scored 11 goals.
He's a good player. He will be one of the fastest players in MLS once he arrives. He can run at opposing defenses and find the back of the net from tight angles. That much was evident when he played for DC and when he tallied goals for the national team.
If Davies can show for the remainder of the season what he displayed for DC in 2011, a long term deal could follow. But for now, he has to compete against one of the deepest offenses in the league.
Saer Sene, Diego Fagundez, and Juan Agudelo have all been rock solid starters for the Revolution, while Chad Barrett has done well when called upon by Heaps. Davies should have an edge over Dimitry Imbongo and Jerry Bengston in the pecking order since they've contributed very little as of late.
Even so, that’s six other players to compete with for starting minutes.
“’You can never have too many attacking options,'” quoted Burns of a former coach.
“[Heaps] and I have been pretty public that part of our job is to make the team as competitive as possible for playing time on the field.”
“Time will tell,” Burns continued of Davies. “He brings pace and an ability to get behind defenders.”
Timing could be everything in this situation. Agudelo will not play for the Revolution next season since he signed a pre-contract with Stoke City, which Burns said he considered before he signed Davies. In addition, the Revolution could shed more forwards after this season by parting ways with players who haven’t contributed or are garnering interest from abroad.
If Davies performs well with the Revolution and they choose to pursue a long term deal, he will be one less goal scorer to search for during the off-season.
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