On March 30th, 2017, the Vancouver Whitecaps made the surprise move to trade Kekuta Manneh to the Columbus Crew in exchange for defensive midfielder Tony Tchani, $75,000 in General Allocation Money, and $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. If the Crew resigned Manneh (which didn’t happen), the Caps would have also received Columbus’ first round 2018 SuperDraft pick.
It took a while before Kekuta saw the field in Columbus, but he ended the season appearing in 19 matches, starting 9, for a total of 838 minutes, and registered 4 goals and 3 assists.
In comparison, Tony Tchani arrived in Vancouver and was immediately inserted into the lineup. Over the season, he would play in 27 MLS matches, starting 26, for a total of 2,121 minutes. He would score 4 goals for the Caps along with registering 1 assist.
At the time, the trade was heavily maligned by the casual fan, seeing the Whitecaps trading away their most valuable/dynamic player. I remember the comments from people on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with our website. I mean, the article received 66 comments. Go have a look at some of the remarks!
In comparison to the casual fan, those writing for the Caps saw it as a shrewd business decision. While Manneh certainly had his moments, it seemed that a) he had reached a bit of a plateau, b) that he had dealt with a few injuries and attitude issues, and c) that he was not going to resign after the 2017 season.
Manneh did not end up resigning with Columbus during the offseason, instead being signed by Liga MX club Pachuca at the end of December. Meanwhile, Vancouver traded Tchani to Chicago Fire just prior to this season, for $150,000 in TAM.
When the dust settled, the Whitecaps received 2,121 minutes in 2017 from Tchani (much needed after Laba was injured), $375,000 in TAM and $75,000 in GAM, and the transfers of Aly Ghazal and Bernie Ibini (and possibly Marinovic and Igiebor?), in exchange for Manneh. Not a bad haul in my eyes. But, maybe you see it differently.
Let us know in the comments how you reflect on the trade one year later.