With a dismal on-field product of late, the Vancouver Whitecaps needed a shot of excitement to wake up the club and the fans. As has been routine this season, that shot was provided by Alphonso Davies.
Rumored since his first match with the ThunderCaps, Davies has been transferred to a big European club. It was expected that he would end up at a Premiere League club, in England, however, we learned last week that the front runner was Bayern Munich. After some back and forth on the price negotiations, the Whitecaps made the transfer official on Wednesday. The deal could be worth more than $22 million US, with the fixed transfer fee (rumored to be around $13 to $18 million) a record for Major League Soccer.
For Whitecaps fans, this is not a surprise, as it was expected Davies would be leaving this offseason. However, there were concerns that the date could be pushed up, given the current negotiations. Fear not Whitecaps fans, there is still reason to be excited about attending matches this season. Davies will finish the season with the Whitecaps and join Bayern Munich in January 2019.
Thanks to last season’s change to the transfer policy of homegrown players, the Whitecaps will receive 100% of the proceeds of Davies transfer to Bayern Munich. The question among fans is how will that money be used? While the money can be used for a wide assortment of things, including player development, many are hoping that it will be put towards getting some higher caliber designated players into Vancouver.
Throughout their MLS tenure, the Whitecaps have been hesitant to pay more than $2 million on any one player. With anywhere from $13 to $22 million coming in, there is little reason for that trend to continue. Hopefully the owners will take a good chunk of the profits received and reinvest it into the product on the field. Of course, there is always the option of pocketing the money and keeping things status quo.
As for Davies, he enters a new, challenging, phase in his professional career. He is going to play for a top five club team, who is consistently winning trophies and competing against the best teams. This can only be a positive for Davies continued development. He will have to fight for minutes at Bayern, but as he has shown thus far in his career, he passes every obstacle thrown his way. It is my hope that he will continue to push through those obstacles. With his work ethic and track record, there is no reason to believe he won’t.
Davies comes to Bayern Munich at a good time. While Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are the incumbents, many around the club feel the two are near, or at, the end of their Bayern Munich careers. Davies will have to compete with their expected replacements Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.
Although Davies is only 17, we were informed by Bavarian Football Works that Bayern have never been hesitant to give their young players an opportunity. Moreover, that while they will pay for established players, it is rare for the club to pay such a substantial transfer fee for a player as young as Davies. As a result, it is unlikely that the club will have him rot away on loan, in Bundesliga 2, or on the bench. With Bayern always playing so many games (friendlies, Bundesliga, Champions, World), Davies will certainly be given his opportunity; probably sooner rather than later.
Now, I am off to buy my Bayern Munich Alphonso Davies jersey. Been meaning to get a Bayern kit in the past. Now I have no excuse not to!
What is your take on the move? What will this mean for Davies, Whitecaps, and MLS?