When Marc Weber first broke the news for Whitecaps fans on Twitter that Gershon Koffie was no longer going to be a member of the blue and white, my initial gut reaction went something like this:
And judging by the states of various comment sections around Whitecapsland, that feeling was shared by many. However, after further research into specifics of the trade and the forces that caused it to happen, I've come to the conclusion that my initial gut reaction was wrong. The trade is necessary - and quite possibly a good one - for both Koffie and the Caps.
Hear me out.
The rumour mill has been churning out a possible Koffie-to-Europe move for a couple of years now, including one recent report of a potential multi-million dollar move to Belgium. Obviously that didn't materialize, but it's still highly likely that Koffie will end up across the pond, especially when you consider New England's future midfield situation.
With the addition of Koffie the Revs will now be able to rotate through a trio of defensive midfielders (i.e. Scott Caldwell, Daigo Kobayashi). But when their newest designated player signing Xavier Kouassi arrives in July (or perhaps later given a recent ACL injury), they'll have an abundance of quality in the middle of the park. At that time I'd expect Koffie will either sign a pre-contract with a foreign team (his current contract runs out at the end of 2016) or he'll be transferred for a fee (of which the Caps are guaranteed a percentage), either way he'll likely be out of New England before the year is over.
The situation would've been the similar had he stayed with the Caps, but without the guaranteed GAM and TAM for the club or guaranteed playing time for Koffie.
The place where Koffie's loss could be most obviously detrimental is to the current Whitecaps squad, but his departure is by no means catasrophic. In fact, it opens up opportunities in a position where the Caps have a surprising amount of depth.
Russell Teibert was the main contender for Koffie's spot alongside Matias Laba over the course of 2015. Naturally, Koffie's departure will give the "Future Whitecaps Captain" more opportunities in the XI. But the move will also have a trickle-down effect. Deybi Flores and Kianz Froese have been making strong statements with their performances in preseason and - in Froese's case - for the Canadian National team. Expect them to jostle for starts and substitute appearances behind Teibert and Laba. Ben McKendry could even have a shot at some playing time when he gets back to full health.
Lastly, for anyone worried about Gershon Koffie's national team status, it seems that there's nothing to worry about (beyond landing a FIFA exemption for a one time switch from Ghana to Canada).
@MikeMartignago He told us that if he was to leave now that he'd still get his citizenship as he's met all the eligibility requirements.— AFTN (@aftncanada) February 11, 2016
With this trade, Gershon Koffie will now have more opportunities to start games and make an impact, the Whitecaps can plug some of the financial holes they've accrued in (re)signing Techera, Kudo, Bolanos and (probably) Ousted and Perez, and opportunities will now abound for youngsters in what was previously a glut at central midfield. It's always sad to see a fan favourite go, but when all the factors are taken into account, it's not the end of the world.
Agree? Disagree? Hate my guts for even trying to make this argument? Let loose in the comments.