As rumors of Tim Parker’s unhappiness continue to swirl, Vancouver acquired Uruguayan center back Jose Aja from Orlando City SC Saturday, potentially setting up a major mix-up in the Caps’ defensive situation.
The 24-year-old Aja joined Orlando from Uruguayan side Nacional in July of 16 and started 14 matches for the Lions last year. A potential fringe player for the national team, Aja brings a tall frame (6-foot-4) and physical presence to add alongside Kendall Waston.
Vancouver surrendered $125,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and a 2021 SuperDraft pick (yes you didn’t read that wrong, they did trade a pick three years from now). As far as MLS-level centerbacks go, this seems like a good option, as Aja appears to tick all the boxes that Carl Robinson is looking for in a CB. He’s has a physical, ball-playing style and is young enough to continue to develop.
Plus, Robbo said, he was familiar with Aja from trips to Uruguay to scout Cristian Techera. The sheer number of South American players in Vancouver should also help his integration with the side.
“[Aja is] a big lad who is very comfortable on the ball,” Robinson said. “He will add another dimension to the group and complement our backline well, and he understands the league now after playing in MLS for 18 months. We’re excited to welcome him to our team and continue to help him grow to his full potential.”
The question, of course, is whether this spells the end of Tim Parker’s time in a Whitecaps kit.
After contract negotiations with Parker reportedly broke down (with the player reportedly wanting an eye-watering $1.4 million salary), multiple journalists have confirmed that talks have been occurring between Vancouver and DC United, New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact.
Given the amount of funny money that players such as Justin Meram and Sacha Kljestan have brought in for their respective clubs, trading a seemingly unhappy Parker makes a lot of sense. The links to east coast cities makes me believe the New York-native Parker is homesick or unhappy on the West Coast and, given that, his massive contract demands may make a little more sense.
Getting $1 million in TAM and/or GAM would give the Caps a lot of dough to throw around, especially given that they appear to have landed a capable (though not spectacular) deputy for Parker in Aja. While Parker has begun to get looks from the U.S. National Team, he is far from irreplaceable and Aja’s arrival may signal that Vancouver is serious in their attempts to move him on