An impending paradigm change is going to have far-reaching consequences for every team in the Major League Soccer (MLS) market.

The addition of superstars like Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba marked a turning point for MLS, which has started to attract more A-list players from across the globe since this year.

What seems to be another beginning will take place in 2024. Reports from writer Caleb Pongratz indicate that Major League Soccer is getting ready to increase the number of Designated Players (DP) permitted on each club to four.

The designated player rule allows MLS fanchises to sign players outside their salary cap structure.

Currently, up to three Designated Players are allotted to each squad. Major League Soccer’s upper management would have had a whole new perspective had Messi joined the league.

Additionally, it would allow every club to recruit one additional star player.

What does it mean for MLS teams?

This huge deal might change how the clubs compete in the league and impact the roster dynamics. Teams could bolster their rosters with star power and expertise for a long time because of the three Designated Player spots.

They have an even better chance of putting together a strong team and improving our performance on the field now that they have an extra DP spot. It has been an important factor in the MLS’s success in luring superstars from across the world.

The first designated player in MLS history was David Beckham and the rule is sometimes referred to as the Beckham rule.

David Beckham was the MLS’ first Designated Player

There has been an exceptional history of DPs in the American top flight, including players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, Robbie Keane, Robbie Henry and Kaka.

The opportunity to attract top talent from across the world increases dramatically when the addition of another Designated Player is considered.

This move aligns with the league’s ongoing efforts to improve and increase its standing among football leagues worldwide.

With this opportunity, many sides can further establish themselves as a dominant force in the Major League Soccer, raising the bar for future seasons.

The opportunities this transformation brings will not materialize right away, but it is critical to be ready for them. Speculation and talks about the possible players who may join teams as the fourth DP are certain to happen. This will both thrill supporters and stir arguments about the makeup of their future lineup.

This may work out well for Inter Miami since they want to recruit Lionel Messi’s former Barcelona teammate, Luis Suarez by 2024. Since each club may now field a roster of four players, he stands to gain from the recently enacted franchise player legislation.

How does Designated Player rule work?

Teams in Major League Soccer are allowed to sign a maximum of three players whose wages are above the league’s pay ceiling according to the Designated Player (DP) rule.

Consequently, clubs are able to compete for the services of prominent foreign players. A wage limit was put in place to ensure that clubs were not financially disadvantaged.

To improve player quality without going over budget, MLS has introduced programs such as Designated Players and allocation money, which are not cap-exempt.

In 2023, the limit was $612,500 per DP, with the exception of players who joined during the Secondary Transfer Window, who had a budget charge of $306,250.

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