Miami adds int. player slot amid Suárez interest

Inter Miami have secured an extra international roster slot, the MLS franchise has announced.

The South-Florida based club purchased the slot from Western Conference side San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for $150,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM).

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The move will allow Miami to add a non-U.S. national player before the MLS transfer window closes on Aug. 2.

A total of 233 international roster slots are divided among the 29 MLS clubs and are tradeable. Therefore, clubs may have more or less than eight players during any given season.

Miami signed Jordi Alba last week and the Spain left-back will join former Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, who arrived at the club earlier this month.

ESPN reported earlier this month that Miami have expressed an interest in signing Luis Suárez to fill the last international roster slot at Miami.

The Uruguay forward is under contract with Grêmio until December 2024.

The acquisition of an international roster spot is one step in the process of Miami possibly signing Suárez.

Asked about Suárez and the spot, Miami manager Tata Martino said: “What we are doing is we are working on the definitive decisions about the roster. It is our understanding that between this transfer window and December-January, we have to put together a definitive team.

“We are managing all the variables with the directors. Some of these names are familiar to all of you. The subject of Luis, you are all aware of. After all is said and done there are some obstacles with regard to his situation with Grêmio and this means that it is not all Inter Miami’s decision.

“Definitely we are trying to finish off things that are near deal, such as that of Jordi Alba and getting Diego Gomez up to speed, and then we will finish with what is being negotiated.”

An international roster spot is needed for Suárez as he wouldn’t count as a domestic player, because he is not a U.S. citizen, nor does he have permanent U.S. residence.

Whether Suárez requires a Designated Player spot (DP) is still to be determined. Miami is at the maximum number of three DPs with Messi, Busquets and Leonardo Campana.

If Suárez signs a DP contract, Campana would either have to be transferred abroad, traded within MLS or have his salary budget hit reduced to a level by which he would no longer qualify as a DP.

Suárez could also be signed with the help of allocation money so that he wouldn’t count as a DP. That would require Suárez having an annual salary of less than $1.65m, while Miami would have to have enough allocation money to buy down his salary budget hit to less than $651,250.

Suárez is keen to leave Grêmio and is willing to compensate the Brazilian club with a fee of around $10m to be released from his contract this month.

Grêmio, meanwhile, want Suárez to see out his contract.

Since joining the Brazilian club in January as a free agent, Suárez has scored 16 goals and set up nine more in 31 games.

“On the 2nd [of August when the transfer window closes in Brazil], this soap opera will come to an end,” Grêmio coach Renato Gaucho said after Saturday’s 1-0 league win against Atlético Mineiro.

Suárez, 36, watched Saturday’s game from the stands. The former Liverpool star has struggled with a right knee problem since May.

Information from ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle also contributed to this report.

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