According to Turkish source Haber3 the Vancouver Whitecaps have bid $5 million for Canadian star Atiba Hutchinson. Hutchinson was linked to the Whitecaps all the way back in January but the deal fell through, apparently because MLS was not willing to pay such a large portion of the transfer fee. Well now MLS seems willing to pony up (something something cheapskate owners something something no ambition) and the rumour has resurfaced.
Now hold on, you may be thinking, how do we know this Haber3 is legitimate? well I thought that to so I decided to look into it. Haber is owned by the Turkish Radio and Television corporation (TRT) and is “famous” for having a clock in the top right corner of the screen at all times except during commercial breaks. Good enough for me! let the hype flow through you!
In all seriousness though, all we can do is wait and see. But in the meantime let’s take a look at what Atiba could bring to the team.
Besiktas play a similar formation to the Whitecaps, with three central midfielders. In that set up Hutchinson typically plays right in front of the back four, the position currently occupied by Matias Laba. One imagines that Laba is unlikely to be dropped. so either Hutchinson will slot in to one of the more advanced roles, probably for Tchani. Alternatively Laba could be moved into one of the more advanced roles, giving him more freedom to chase the ball down while Hutchinson plays a more holding role in front of the back four.
In any case one thing is clear should this move go through. Hutchinson is being brought in to help the Whitecaps win now. At 34 he’s not part of some long term project (is there even a long term plan or do they just kind of do things?), so clearly the thought process is that Hutchinson significantly improves our chances of winning something in the short term. I’m not to concerned about Hutchinson not being up to it as he’s never had a long term injury and we’ve seen Patrice Bernier continue to be useful in a similar role well into his 30s, but there’s no denying the window to win with Hutchinson will be short.
The Other aspect of this possible signing is that the ‘Caps are right up against the salary cap. With Hutchinson coming in someone will almost certainly have to move out. In terms of central midfielders I think the only player you could really move would Be Andrew Jacobson. Laba’s not going anywhere, Tchani was only just aquired, and Teibert and McKendry are serviceable homegrown players and thus worth their weight in gold. Another player who may move on is Marcel de Jong. With Levis coming back to full health and Adekugbe returning from loan de Jong’s 140k salary looks surplus to requirements.
Be sure to let us know what you think of the rumour. Do you think Hutchinson is a good singing considering he’ll be 35 next year? How would he fit in to the team? Do you think he gives the whitecaps a significantly better shot at the MLS cup in the short term? Who would you be willing to let go to facilitate Atiba’s arrival?