Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Crack in the Voice Conduit

Rumors started kicking up yesterday about Columbus picking up a young and talented center back from Norway. Today it's official. Nicolai Næss clearly isn't a patch to fill the gaping hole(s) at the position, it's a full on repair job. With Gaston Sauro still on the roster, it leaves team captain Michael Parkhurst holding the bag.

Transfermarkt has the player valued at around $650k, the same figure you see bopping around Crew circles right now (which, likely, isn't a coincidence). What this means is that Naess will be expected to start in MLS. But what does that mean for the players already part of the team at the position?

There are only a few scenarios that could fill out the top secret plan in Crew SC's brain.

1. They are planning for Parkhurst to stick around while both Sauro and Naess start. Possible that we see these guys in the playoffs, but his likely happens next year.

2. Sauro is done playing in MLS ("reports") and Naess was brought here to replace him. A "like for like" and Columbus will sign Parkhurst to a new deal.

It doesn't seem like Gregg Berhalter's style to make a signing and not make it clear to his current captain that "he's the man" going forward, but that appears to be what we have here. Here's what he said when asked about his future (via Tom Reed and the Columbus Dispatch)...

"There are certainly players who worry about it and it can play into some minds. I'm old enough now to know that it's beyond your control." - Michael Parkhurst

That just doesn't ring confidence in his position. Nor does it indicate they've told him that he is still in their plans moving forward. Parkhurst is being Parkhurst here, but it sounds like he's unsure of the future.

What this means is that there is a crack in Berhalter's only voice in the field since he came to Columbus three years ago. Parkhurst was selected for the commonalities between him and his coach, both in temperament and position. He has been Berhalter on the pitch - as it were.

While that hasn't changed in title, it has changed the dynamic by which Parkhurst approaches situations during games, practice and anywhere else. To run a successful organization you need your leadership 100% on board with things. Any sort of change there and you're running at a risk of (further) failure.

If Parkhurst is part of the future plans then I am sure that the coaches have already contacted him to reassure him of his role with the team. If they haven't? Boy, if they haven't.

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