Earlier this week, rumours surfaced that Ballou Tabla wanted to leave the Montreal Impact. As the links intensified, it became clearer: They were no rumours and the winger, in fact, wanted out.
After breaking onto the scene last season with the occasional super-sub appearances, Tabla demonstrated that he had a lot to offer the Montreal Impact. Mauro Biello took note and gave the winger a more prominent role in the side for the upcoming season. Thus far, the 18-year-old has started 10 games and has come off the bench a further six times. In his 997 minutes on the pitch, a decent amount for any youngster to prove themselves, Tabla scored two goals and registered an assist.
His increased playing time wasn’t enough to satisfy the winger, who had the prospect of playing in Europe on his mind. The saga took a further twist on August 8th when Tabla didn’t show up to training in an effort to further distance himself from the Montreal Impact. While the gesture made his intentions clear, the Impact held firm and didn’t change their opinion: Tabla was not leaving.
In an exclusive interview, his agent Mohamed Sadio expressed his befuddlement at the whole situation.
“The Impact refuse to name their price for Ballou therefore all the interested clubs don’t know what type of offer to make for the player. In my opinion, Ballou’s value today ranges between 1M and 1.5M.”
With the Impact not budging, Ballou quickly changed his position. Just one day after skipping practice, the winger took to Twitter to apologize for his actions.
— Ballou Tabla (@balloutabla) August 9, 2017
The statement goes as follows:
“I’d like to take the chance to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, the organization and to the supporters for my actions. Yes, I have ambition and I’d like to go to the highest level possible in my career but I’m aware that I have an agreement with my current club that I must respect. I never wanted to be a source of distraction and I will continue to have the desire to help my club attain their objectives everyday.”
After apologizing on social media, Ballou attended practice, putting the whole saga to an end. Or so we think. Even if the player has formally apologized and has returned to practice, all is not forgotten. The fact remains that Ballou still wants to go as he inadvertently pointed in his statement when he talks about ambition. Moreover, his agent also confirmed that there are many offers on the table for the winger leading one to wonder if the Impact are in fact considering any of them.
With Montreal approaching the business end of the season, the smart thing to do would be to categorically remove Ballou from the market and avoid selling him at all costs…for the time being. Key words: For the time being. Without Ballou, the Impact will undoubtedly lose quality in the final third that they won’t be able to replace right away due to the transfer window closing in Major League Soccer. Instead, they should wait for the season to come to a close and reassess from there. If the player still wants to go, then Montreal simply needs to take the best offer and move on.