Major League Soccer

Inter Miami reveal plans for Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi, and Rodolfo Pizarro

Chris Smith
Gonzalo Higuain was Inter Miami's top scorer in 2021 with 12 goals.
Gonzalo Higuain was Inter Miami's top scorer in 2021 with 12 goals. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Inter Miami sporting director and chief soccer officer Chris Henderson has revealed the club plan to continue on with their three Designated Players (DP).

The Herons finished 11th in the Eastern Conference during a disappointing 2021 campaign, missing out on the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi, and Rodolfo Pizarro all had strong individual spells, but failed to gel together or find enough consistency to make Miami a true Playoff contender.

But, although Henderson says the club are 'listening to all options' ahead of this winter's roster rebuild - which has already begun with a number of players running down their contracts - he did reveal the intention is to continue building around the current three DPs.

By next month, both Higuain and Matuidi will be 34, meaning Pizarro (27) is the only one who would draw realistic transfer interest.

"All three DPs are under contract, we’re moving forward with our DPs, but we’re listening to all options to help us improve the team," Henderson told reporters (via MLSsoccer.com). "That group of players has the potential to carry this team."

Another area of speculation has been the dugout, with Phil Neville enduring a tough debut campaign in MLS after taking over from Diego Alonso. But, again, Henderson insists Miami will stick by the former England international, even revealed Neville is 'one of the best' he's seen at developing young players.

“I’m very excited because Phil Neville is great at working with young players, one of the best I’ve seen on the grass," Henderson said.

"I think that’s going to be an opportunity. With what we’re dealing with in the next two years, we’re going to need to rely on youth and developing those players.”

He added: “I feel like we now have processes that are in place which weren’t in place when I arrived.

"This is what’s going to give us the foundation for long-term, sustained success. We’re working diligently on improving the first team.”

Inter Miami have already announced the following roster decisions following the conclusion of the regular season:

Contract options declined (Nov. 15, 2021):

  • George Acosta (MID)
  • Ventura Alvarado (DEF)
  • Dylan Castanheira (GK)
  • Jay Chapman (MID) - eligible for free agency
  • Sami Guediri (MID)
  • Kelvin Leerdam (DEF) - eligible for free agency
  • John McCarthy (GK) - eligible for free agency
  • Josh Penn (FWD)
  • Patrick Seagrist (DEF)
  • Victor Ulloa (MID) - eligible for free agency

Out of contract (Nov. 15, 2021):

  • Federico Higuain (MID) - retired, eligible for free agency
  • Brek Shea (DEF) - eligible for free agency

Loan expiration (Nov. 15, 2021):

  • Indiana Vassilev (FWD)
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