Following the shock report that Laurent Ciman was left out of Los Angeles Football Club’s matchday squad on Friday in their critical clash against the LA Galaxy, due to reported transfer interest for the Belgian abroad and a perceived lack of focus as a result in the eyes of head coach Bob Bradley, comes more information regarding the story out of Montreal.
TVA Sports’ Nicolas Martineau has been reporting new tidbits on Saturday morning, revealing first that the apparent frontrunner to acquire Ciman is Ligue 1 side Dijon.
A midtable finisher last year, Dijon aren’t one of the high-profile teams in the division, but a side trying to acquire a still fairly regular Belgian international with oodles of experience makes sense for them. For him, going back to a Francophone country likely also holds appeal.
Martineau continued his reporting on Twitter about Ciman:
Info supplémentaire : Ciman voulait une prolongation de contrat, mais ses performances en dents de scie n'ont pas convaincu Bob Bradley. #LAFC— Nicolas A Martineau (@nikmartineauTVA) August 25, 2018
Translation: “Additional Info: Ciman wanted a contract extension, but his performance did not convince Bob Bradley.”
Regarding the shock that Bradley was holding Ciman out due to being “not focused,” as reported by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, Martineau said there’s no beef between the parties:
On me dit qu'il n'y a AUCUN conflit entre Bradley et Ciman. L'entraîneur n'est simplement pas heureux du timing de ce transfert.— Nicolas A Martineau (@nikmartineauTVA) August 25, 2018
Translation: “I am told that there is no conflict between Bradley and Ciman. The coach is simply not happy with the timing of this transfer.”
Well, that makes some sense. Losing a captain with the playoffs looming, and with your own league’s transfer window closed for a couple weeks already kind of throws a wrench in your plans.
Then, Martineau reported that another team, in Belgium, is in the running for Ciman too. Bidding war?
Ciman spent the bulk of his career at Standard Liege, but as Martineau reports, they aren’t the ones looking for a reunion here.
Maybe the most puzzling tweet of the lot is this one, where Martineau’s source(s) seem to indicate maybe Ciman doesn’t want to go but is doing so anyway?
Translation: “According to my info, Laurent Ciman would have preferred to remain in LA. That was his priority. It is a complicated case, but if he leaves, he will not go on bad terms, far from it.”
Bradley was asked about the Ciman situation after the game on Friday.
“I love Laurent, but I don’t think he’s fully focused in the moment, and when there’s other things going on...Listen, I will defend the team at the highest level, and I had a good talk with Laurent yesterday and I said, ‘Look, right now, let’s see if we can get things squared away for you,’” Bradley told reporters after the match.
“He wasn’t going to start this match, because all along Walker [Zimmerman] was our choice for this game. I thought Walker played really well against the Galaxy in the first match and did the same tonight.”
“Look, I’ll say it again: Laurent has been an important guy. He’s passionate, he’s also emotional, and he’s a guy, when his emotions are running high, sometimes it’s not always clear if he’s ready, especially for a game like that. It’s a tough decision, but hey, it’s part of the deal, he and I had a good talk, and we’ll take it from there.”
We’ll see. Maybe there were personal factors that seem to be contributing to what appears to be a growing inevitability of Ciman’s departure, maybe LAFC are making a business decision about a 33-year-old whose market value will never be higher, maybe other factors are at play. Martineau is well-connected, as is Twellman with his initial report, and Bradley got about as close to confirming a transfer was imminent without saying it, so I think this info is credible. Now, what happens next? I’m certain we haven’t heard the last of this. We’ll keep you posted.
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