Good Friday morning Caps’ fans, it was a long and busy week over in this neck of the woods so I’m ever so grateful to be writing this column and I hope you all are staring down a lovely weekend.
It will be a short few notes on potential Caps’ signing Fouad Bachirou and the links today but rest assured Monday will be a longer column on a subject I’ve admittedly yet to decide (how much planning do you think goes into these!).
Was on Twitterr (for work!) yesterday when I saw this interesting scouting report on Bachirou, a guy I’ve been pretty high on since the Caps were initially linked to him a few weeks back.
Also Malmo will demand a fee in the neighborhood of $1.5m, and with him turning 30 next year, that’ll most likely be a sunk cost.— (@GlassCityFC) November 7, 2019
Really not liking this move the more I think about it.
Our good friend Glass City tuned into Malmo’s Europa League 0-0 draw with Swiss side Lugano in the Europa League and ... was not impressed with Bachirou. I’m an admittedly not a denizen of the Allsvenskan and what tape I have watched of Bachirou has come on YouTube videos with tinny house music, but this performance Thursday sounds a bit out of the ordinary for him.
Normally, Bachirou is the archtype of the ball-winning midfield role and seems to thrive in a direct, pressing style of play—exactly what MDS wants to do more of going forward. Unline Jon Erice, he seems to have some technical skill and his long passing is quite good.
Now, the idea of a sunk cost is not insignificant. But it also seems unlikely that every signing the Caps make will be a young player with significant resell value, a la In-Beom. As much as I would like this to be Football Manager, it isn’t—you can’t build a team around exclusively players 25 and under. Some veteran presence will have to be baked in.
The Caps have had or will likely have three significant windfalls—Davies, Ali Adnan and In-Beom. Now, of course we should actually be spending that money and using it to invest in young players which can also turn a profit, sort of like the Atlanta United model. But one 30 year-old? I think that’s OK, especially for the kind of role you would ask Bachirou to play.
Now, whether you want that 30-year-old to be coming from the Swedish league is another question. Players from Scandinavia have a mixed record in MLS and the fact that Bachirou has never played at a higher level makes this more of an unknown commodity than you might like. The fact is, a player from within MLS might be able to do the same job for a cheaper pricetag than the $1.4-ish million the Caps would have to pay for the Allsvenskan Kante.
Given that the rumors surrounding Bachirou have died down a bit, this may all be a moot point anyway. But while this may not be the sexiest signing, the Caps will need to bring someone aboard to fill the number-6 role and one only needs to look as far as Matias Laba to understand the transformative effect an elite DM can have on reducing the pressure on your defense and maintaining possession. Fans shouldn’t be put off that this isn’t the mega-signing they’ve been promised—we don’t know if those will come (or if the SD will come, either) but an improvement at DM is at least one relatively cost-effective way to improve the squad.
Shameless Self Promotion
Sam Rowan runs down a few of the latest rumors—including Bachirou—and gives us all an outline of what the winter will look like going forward
Best of the Rest
Matt Penz, who covers Cascadia for The Athletic, does a terrific four-part series on MDS and the Whitecaps rebuild. Well worth your time if you have a subscription!
The Caps were ranked fourth from the bottom in franchise value according to Forbes’ annual list. I’m guessing a lot of it is tied to not owning a stadium and the market’s relatively modest size but talk about getting kicked while you’re down, ya know?
MLS has put together a guide for fans undecided about who to root for in Sunday’s MLS Cup but I still think Caps fans should root for a meteor to wipe out CenturyLink
One year ago today, MDS took the reigns in Vancouver. I would suggest not reading the replies to that tweet if you don’t want your blood pressure to rise