In a bit of an unexpected move, mainly because there are not a lot of signings in Major League Soccer in September, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced today the signing of 26-year-old Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor.
Many might be thinking ‘oh great, another defensive midfielder’. In fact, we know that is the case.
Initially this may seem like a bit of an odd move, but when we dig deeper it makes some sense. As part of the signing, the Whitecaps announced that Matias Laba joined David Edgar on the disabled list. This freed up an international roster spot. Igiebor has been signed for the remainder of the 2017 season with club options for 2018 and 2019. In other words, Carl Robinson replaced Laba for the rest of the season with no commitment beyond this season. Yes, the Caps have Ghazal (and others), and yes, they only have 8 matches remaining in the regular season. But, why not have an additional player just in case. We didn’t expect Laba to go down with a season-ending injury, and yet it happened. In my eyes, I look at this as an extended trial for Igiebor. If he looks good and seems to fit, the club keeps him in 2018. If he doesn’t, no problem.
Now, who is this new Whitecaps player? Well, according to Carl Robinson, “Nosa is a box-to-box midfielder who brings a lot of experience having played in some of the top leagues in the world”. While I would not consider Israel’s and Turkey’s leagues as ‘tops in the world’, at 26 he has over 300 professional appearances, including 28 in La Liga, 21 in Europa, and 4 in Champions. In addition to his club experience, Igiebor has 15 appearances with the Nigerian national team. Again, there are plenty of players that can probably make that claim and you might think ‘meh’, but at his age and for the commitment the Caps have made to him, this seems like a good deal.
What are your initial thoughts on the signing?