Good Friday morning Caps fans. No match this week (wow what a concept!), so we’re all twiddling our thumbs waiting for the World Cup to kick off this afternoon at the Parc des Princes in France and enjoying some Whitecaps transfer rumors.
As a brief aside, Coffee with the Caps (aka Andrew) would like to express solidarity with the Vox Media Union who are negotiating for fair wages as we speak. Those who managed SB Nation Soccer and the other Vox sites are among the best at what they do and they deserve to be compensated as such. No media professional deserves poverty wages, least of all those of the professionalism and quality as our colleagues. Solidarity!
Ok, now back to soccer. As mentioned before our labor interlude, the Whitecaps hiatus has given us a chance to dig into some juicy transfer rumors that have been percolating in recent days. The solidest link is one with South Korean striker Hwang Uijo, who currently plies his trade for Gamba Osaka in the J League.
The new No. 9 I hear the Whitecaps are interested in is South Korean international Uijo Hwang. He plays for Gamba Osaka in the Japanese first division, and will available on a free at the end of this month.#VWFC | #WhitecapsFC | #MLS— (@GlassCityFC) June 5, 2019
Setting aside the fact that a) apparently we want to sign all the South Koreans and b) I guess the bridge that was reportedly burned when we signed Masato Kudo has been repaired, this transfer makes a lot of sense. Joaquin Ardaiz has underperformed and it is entirely possible that the Caps cut bait on their loan over the summer to free up some money to play with. Uijo would come relatively cheap on a free, a vintage hallmark of a Whitecaps signing.
Caleb Wilkins did a brief statistical analysis that squares with what a lot of other people have said about Uijo: consistency can be an issue.
Rumoured #VWFC signing Uijo Hwang has had some excellent but isn't exactly consistent. Here are his goal totals and G+A/90 for all his years in the top flights of Japan+Korea (he played one season in K2). It fluctuates wildly. pic.twitter.com/qDc4JHObv4— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) June 5, 2019
Probably the most helpful point of comparison for Uijo is the aforementioned Kudo (who I always maintain could have been solid for Vancouver had he not been wiped out by Matt Lampson). In his best goals+assists/90 year, Kudo checked in at .72—only slightly below Uijo’s top season in 2018. But Kudo was more consistent—he did have one outlier year at .36 but aside from that it mostly fell in the .6 range.
Uijo does have significant national team experience, something none of Vancouver’s other failed striker signings have possessed. Not only did he lead South Korea to victory in last year’s Asian Games, he also nabbed the Golden Boot at the competition with nine goals in seven matches. He also have linked up repeatedly with Hwang In-Beom, which will help him integrate in Vancouver. And, finally, there were links between Uijo and Bundesliga clubs as recently as last transfer window, meaning he is on a pedigree closer to Hwang than Anthony Blondell (bless his heart).
I don’t know what’s going to happen with this transfer and neither do you. But credible people are saying it might happen and while another inconsistent striker who is prone to lapses of poor finishing sounds like a rundown of the Caps’ strikers over the past few years, Uijo also has the bona fides that makes me think this could be a decent pick up.
Now let’s check out some links, shall we?
Shameless Self Promotion
No match means we’ve been taking stock of the Whitecaps’ season up until this point. Part 1 looks at old faces which have left us, part 2 evaluates our new faces and part 3 asks the eternal question: are we getting better?
Meanwhile, Sam Rowan checks in with the latest updates from the training ground
Best of the Rest
The Athletic looks at Canada’s preparation for the WC here
Inter Miami have been linked to some megastars in recent days, as David Beckham is reportedly interested in luring Luis Suarez or James Rodriguez to South Beach