In a bit of a surprise move Wednesday morning, the Vancouver Whitecaps shipped Tony Tchani to the Chicago Fire, in exchange for $150,000 in 2018 Targeted Allocation Money. With the move, the Whitecaps have two roster spots open on their 20-man, provided Rowe, Levis, Franklin, and Bevan are on the Supplemental, and Teibert and Davies are still on the Reserve. The Caps also have plenty of salary space. While new acquisition Aja made $216,000 last season, Tchani was on $308,333. As a result, I estimate that the Caps have around $800,000 in cap space; almost two DP salaries. Responding to the trade, Robinson noted it would “give us additional roster flexibility” suggesting that it is a precursor to another move (or two).
The most recent rumored move for the Whitecaps involves familiar name, Scott Arfield. With his contract at Burnley expiring in June, teams can sign him to a pre-contract now. Although this rumor does not hold much weight, it would address an important need for the Whitecaps in the midfield, it would be a big deal for a Canadian team to have a Canadian designated player (remember de Rosario’s impact), and apparently David Edgar was the driving force behind Arfield coming to the National Team. Therefore, it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Back to Tchani. While the Whitecaps have clear depth at the defensive midfield position, the move is a bit of a surprise. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Tchani’s last season, I had to admit that as soon as I was ready to write about how ineffective he was, he would suddenly score a key goal or assist. He seemed to always show up at the important moments. It was like that striker, who had a terrible game but gets one opportunity and buries it for the win, and quickly changes a bad game into a good game.
What makes the move even more puzzling is that Farhan Devji reported today that starting defensive midfielder Aly Ghazal is still four to six weeks away from playing.
Robinson said Aly Ghazal and Doneil Henry have hamstring injuries and that 4 to 6 weeks is probably a "fair estimate" for both of them. #VWFC— Farhan Devji (@farhandevji) February 28, 2018
In other words, the trade means that we are likely to see Russell Teibert get an extended run-out to begin the season. While some of you are not a fan of that, it is worth noting that Teibert has had a fantastic preseason and has shown that he deserves to get some playing time. It is hard to remember, because he has been with the club for so long, that he just turned 25. He is not young, but he is still young, if you know what I mean.
What is your take on this move by the Whitecaps? Were you surprised? Do you see it as a positive move? A sign of something to come?