On July 8th, the summer transfer window opened. Coinciding with this, Major League Soccer announced a new ‘funny money’ mechanism for big clubs (let’s be honest here) to pay down their ‘just barely’ Designated Player contracts to allow for the signing of big name free agents. Each team is given $100,000 a year, for 5 years, in ‘targeted allocation money’. There are two caveats to this money. First, use it or lose it. Starting next year, if you do not use your targeted allocation (TA) money from the year before, you lose it. Second, no double coupons. TA money cannot be combined with ‘regular’ allocation money to pay down contracts. However, it is important to note that teams can trade TA money. Also, teams are allowed to use all of their future money in any preceding year. This means that a team can use $500,000 this year to bring in a big name. Of course, that means that they will not have the money the following year, meaning that they will need to find another way to pay down the contract, or move one of their other big contracts. So, it comes with pros and cons….in theory.
With the summer transfer window comes the rumor mill and aging veteran signings. We have seen some of those already as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Andrea Pirlo have been signed to finish out this summer in North America. There are also rumors that Mexican star Giovani dos Santos will be signing with LA Galaxy in the coming days. For those keeping track at home, that is two world stars each for NYFC and LAG and zero for everyone else.
The opening of the transfer window and the new allocation of funds has provided some opportunities for Carl Robinson to upgrade the Vancouver Whitecaps should he feel it necessary. Potential upgrades were discussed with the coach and he acknowledged that the Whitecaps were not going to sign a high-priced name like Pirlo, but that they may be in the hunt for something smaller. However, he also added that he was "very content with the group" he currently had and he would not make a ‘knee-jerk’ reactionary addition that jeopardized their long-term plans. So, do not expect anything major from the Whitecaps this month. While potentially disappointing, as we always like the idea of something new and shiny, the Whitecaps may be smart to stand pat and not sign anyone. For one, they really do not have a lot of cap space. For another, there are not any major holes in their lineup. Any improvements would probably require the moving of a big-ish name and replacing them with an even bigger name, which seems unlikely given the comments from Robbo and the Whitecaps. Finally, bringing in players during the summer transfer window have not been met with much success in past years. It takes a while to get acclimatized to the league, and travel, and the impact of summer signings are rarely felt until the following year, if at all.
As the crazy rumor mill begins to turn, and additional funny money is thrown at Major League Soccer teams, what do you want/expect from the Whitecaps and what do you expect to see among the other teams in Major League Soccer? Let us know below.