Yesterday, it was rumored that the Vancouver Whitecaps were preparing to acquire Venezuelan striker Anthony Blondell. This morning, the Whitecaps officially announced the move.
While most of us will be unfamiliar with the 23-year-old, Blondell has been lighting it up in Venezuela's first division, scoring 33 goals in 70 starts (115 appearances) over the past six seasons. Translation, since he was 17. This season, he has led the Venezuelan league with 23 goals!
You can read plenty about Blondell and view his highlight package on the Whitecaps official release, so we will focus more on what this means for the squad.
First, the Whitecaps had to acquire his rights from FC Dallas, in exchange for the minimum $50,000 of general allocation money.
Second, Blondell was acquired using TAM, meaning that the Whitecaps (currently) still have two DP slots available should they suddenly feel like changing course and spending some money.
Third, like with Yordy Reyna, at 23-years-old the Whitecaps are getting a player who is entering his prime and has a proven track record. Like Reyna’s recent opportunities with the Peruvian National Team, Blondell made his senior debut with 52nd ranked Venezuela this month.
Fourth, according to IFFHS (put as much credibility in that as you wish) the Venezuelan league is ranked 48th in the world, one spot above the United States. Translation, is it a top league? No, but it is a strong league that is competitive. Moreover, Blondell comes from the team that won the Apertura title and advanced to the Clausura semifinal.
What this signing means for the Whitecaps going forward is that they have a young striker, with a strong track record in a comparable league, that was acquired without using a designated player slot. Does this mean that Montero is not coming back? Not necessarily. However, at 6-foot-1, he gives the Whitecaps a suitable play partner for sneaky second strikers like Reyna and Mezquida. Now, to get that playmaker...
What are your initial thoughts on this move?