In a bit of a surprise move, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced that they had added Dutch striker/winger Marvin Emnes to the club for the remainder of the 2018 Major League Soccer season, with club options through 2020.
30-year old Emnes comes on free transfer from the Turkish Super Lig club Akhisar Belediyespor. However, he has also spent nine years in the English Premier League (and Championship) with Middlesbrough, Swansea, and Blackburn Rovers. In total, he has played 12 seasons in Europe, recording 50 goals in 301 appearances.
On the surface, this seems remnant of last season’s late signing of Nosa Igiebor. The Caps are adding a veteran who was unable to attach with a club for the 2018/2019 European season, and has attempted to find temporary employment in MLS. If so, don’t expect to see Emnes suit up for the squad until the last match or two; possibly in place of Alphonso Davies if we want to be really cynical.
Of course, with the recent questions surrounding the Whitecaps extensive use of one agent to find all their players, I am sure some will be looking to see whether there is a connection here.
It is unclear why Carl Robinson has brought in the veteran Emnes, given that the striker position is already filled by Kei Kamara, Eric Hurtado, and Anthony Blondell. Meanwhile, the wings have Cristian Techera, Alphonso Davies, and Brek Shea. Of course, with Bernie Ibini moving on, it might be viewed that the club needs some extra depth on the wings.
While additional depth seems like a good idea, it is unlikely that Emnes will be able to provide that any time soon, as he will take time to get up to fitness and integrate with the team. Moreover, the Whitecaps have made a habit of shipping off young players like Myer Bevan to Fresno when, maybe, they could fill those depth requirements and get a few minutes of experience instead of toiling away on a poor USL squad.
In some ways, the addition of Emnes is a puzzling one, as it appears to be another case of placing an aging veteran, who will barely play, ahead of developing young players. On the other hand, it is understandable to bring in someone that can be counted on in case something happens to one of the club’s wingers, or Techera gets suspended for some new odd reason.
What is your take on this move?