It is a chilly Monday morning over here on the East Coast and I would much rather be back in bed than at my desk—except for the fact that Daylight Savings means I can’t sleep. Oh well, at least I’m here with you all running down the latest Caps news.
And there was some pretty significant news to come out over the weekend—Ali Adnan’s future is (somewhat) in doubt. News came out of Iraq, where Adnan has been in recent days, supporting protesters who have taken to the streets seeking sweeping governmental change, that he has offers from a bevy of European clubs.
Now, it is unclear whether Adnan realizes that there would have to be a transfer negotiated here or whether we’d find ourselves in another Camillo-esque situation. Nonetheless, the rumblings that Adnan might be looking for another club appear to be confirmed here. The question then becomes whether this is good business for the Whitecaps.
The answer to that question is, naturally, predicated on what kind of fee the Caps will be able to garner for the left back. Vancouver are in a relatively unique position in MLS in that they have elected to sink a significant amount of resources into a fullback—something few other teams have chosen to do.
On his day, Adnan lives up to his billing as one of the top fullbacks in the league. He ranks in the top 10 among fullbacks in key passes, expected goals, shots and shots on target. His silky dribbling skills and eye for goal mean he passes the eye test—when he is in good form.
We obviously all know that the Adnan who is not in form or who is disinterested can cause the offense to grind to a screeching halt given how much the team elects to play through him (something, in part, caused by the lack of creativity in the midfield—something we hopefully will seen addressed). And even on his best days, Adnan’s defensive abilities leave something to be desired—especially for a DP-level player.
The fact is MLS is a league where allocation of resources in one area mean it is harder to appropriate resources elsewhere. Adnan is, by virtue of the transfer fee paid for him, basically impossible to buy down to below the DP threshold. That puts some constraints on a team potentially looking at shipping in three new DPs this offseason and moving Adnan is basically the only way to make such a sea change happen. While the club has not invested the bulk of the Davies money, it is theoretically possible that a tidy profit on Adnan could be funneled into any number of other areas in the squad. The team was reportedly kicking the tires on any number of MLS veteran left backs last offseason and elected not to pull the trigger—it is possible revisiting a Greg Garza-esque talent could make sense as a replacement for Adnan, whose DP slot could go towards an attacking player.
I personally would love to see more teams across the league take the plunge on quality defensive players like Adnan. But, frankly, the current roster rules do not reward going against the grain like this. They reward DP attackers—something the Caps are likely to heed this offseason. I would be perfectly happy if Adnan were to stay but I think you can make a pretty compelling argument that there are a range of benefits to selling him to Beskitas or a Seria A team for a profit. This will certainly be something we all will be watching over the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, onto the links...
Shameless Self Promotion
Training is wrapping up for the Caps brass and MDS and Jake Nerwinski give their thoughts to Sam Rowan on everything from the technical director search to the ongoing MLS playoffs
Best of the Rest
Bayern have sacked Niko Kovac after the Bavarian side were put to the sword by Eintracht Frankfurt Saturday in a 5-1 defeat. This is a blow to Alphonso Davies, who had just started to crack the lineup for Bayern and now will have to impress a new skipper
MLS Cup is now officially a sell out at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field
Racism again reared its ugly head in Europe, with Mario Balotelli and Brescia threatening to walk of the pitch following racist jeers from Hellas Verona fans during a 2-1 Verona win
A packed AFTN podcast interview with MDS is well worth your listen this Monday morning