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Whitecaps Ink Ali Adnan to Designated Player Contract

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Friday morning, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing of Iraqi left-back Ali Adnan on a permanent move from Italian club Udinese. Below is part of the club’s official statement on the transaction.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Friday that the club has acquired left back Adnan from Italian Serie A club Udinese Calcio in a multimillion-dollar transaction, setting an MLS transfer record for the fullback position. The Iraqi international has agreed to a new contract through 2021, with an option for 2022, and will occupy a Designated Player roster slot. Adnan originally joined Vancouver on a loan through June 30 and will be available pending receipt of his permanent International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Up until this deal, Anton Nedyalkov had been the most expensive fullback signing in MLS when he agreed to a 1.5 Million Dollar (US) deal to join FC Dallas in 2017. This, coupled with the club’s official statement, would seem to suggest that the the transfer fee would be somewhere in the vicinity of 2-2.5 Million Dollars.

Part of what made the Ali Adnan move possible was the “buying down” of Joaquin Ardaiz’s Young Designated Player contract which made room for the Whitecaps to use a designated Player Spot for Adnan going forward.

“Ali has been a great addition to our club since arriving in March” said Marc Dos Santos “He understands our defensive principles and has an incredible ability to join the attack, create in the last third, which is very important for teams that want to have an impact offensively using their fullbacks.”

The impact of locking up a player like Ali Adnan is obvious, and although the Whitecaps still have other key positions which need addressing, today’s move provides stability at a position which had been a very big question mark going into the season, as well as throughout his loan spell (it’s hard at this point to imagine what the Whitecaps would look like without him). Additionally, getting this deal done will hopefully allow Marc Dos Santos and his staff to focus on other key positions which can be improved in this transfer window, although, as suggested by Dos Santos, it seems likely that there will only be one more major addition in the summer window (cough, cough, Hwang Ui-Jo).

This move also shows a willingness to spend unlike anything we have seen so far in the history of this club’s Front Office. While they might still be flush with the Alphonso Davies money (thanks Bayern), seeing them actually spend some of it on a quality player is hopefully a sign of a growing pattern.

“This has been a thorough process, and I give a lot of credit to our ownership and to our staff for their hard work and diligence throughout,” explained Dos Santos. “Ali has thoroughly enjoyed his time here and has received tremendous support from our fans. We are very pleased that Ali is committed to Vancouver and our club.”

In addition to the large initial transfer fee, Ali Adnan looks set to be one of - if not the most handsomely paid defenders in MLS. Currently, the highest paid defender in MLS is the Houston Dynamo’s Kiki Struna at 1.21 million in guarantees, so it will be interesting to see if the Whitecaps match or exceed that contract as more details come out.

What do you think of the Ali Adnan signing? Was it worth spending this much money on a left back? Is he actually 25? Let us know in the comments section!