Major League Soccer’s secondary transfer window opened July 9thand will close August 7th. While many Vancouver Whitecaps fans were hoping for some notable signings, that has not happened. Marc Dos Santos made it clear that he would not make lateral moves, instead opting for improvements in positions. With the Whitecaps 2019 playoff hopes all but mathematically dashed, it is unsurprising that the Caps have been quiet. First, because it may be difficult to sign a notable name when your club is floundering and won’t be successful this season. Second, with the season all but lost, it would be an odd time to bring in a key piece. Third, MDS stated that the places he is most interested in pulling talent from (e.g., Central/South America and Asia) are in the middle of their season. Mind you, we know that it can take some time for new players to adjust to MLS, so maybe bringing in players for a half-season, where they can be slowly integrated into the club, may not be a bad idea.
Nevertheless, the Whitecaps have made a few moves. The big move this summer was the signing of loaned left back Ali Adnan. The move sees Adnan signed through 2021, with the always dubious ‘option’ for 2022. The transfer was the biggest for a fullback in MLS history, and Adnan now occupies a designated player slot. Although it might appear poor DP allocation to have one be a left back, you can’t argue that Adnan is one of their best (offensive) players. Take that as glass half full or glass half empty, your call.
On July 30th, the Whitecaps announced that they had signed goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau to a contract extension through 2022, with an option for 2023. The 25-year-old has been one of the few bright spots for the Caps this season, and the move probably comes with a bit of a pay raise. However, hopefully the pay raise is not too substantial, as our own CWilkin’s found that his numbers are not too far removed from league average. Still, it is good to have a young Canadian keeper at the helm for Vancouver, who should continue to improve.
On Thursday, August 1st, Vancouver announced the transfer of keeper Chituru Odunze. You might be thinking “but they just resigned Crepeau to an extension, why would they be bringing in another keeper?”. Well, Odunze is actually a 16-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps homegrown signing and is being transferred OUT to Leicester City FC. Chituru becomes the 18thhomegrown signing for the Caps, and the fourth academy product to be transferred to a European club. The 6-foot-7 keeper came to Vancouver as a 14-year-old from Calgary’s academy and has made 31 appearances for the Developmental Academy, while also playing for the U-17s at the 2019 Generation Adidas Cup. He also made two starts for the US U-17 men’s national team at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship. As part of the deal Vancouver retains a percentage of any sell-on fees Leichester City receives for Odunze.
In potentially a surprise move, the Whitecaps also announced on Thursday that they had mutually parted ways with winger Lucas Venuto. In his time with the Whitecaps, the 24-year-old had 13 starts and 22 appearances, scoring three goals and one assist. At three goals he was, sadly, their third leading scorer. Venuto was up-and-down this season, with a few moments of skill, but certainly left fans wanting a lot more. However, again, CWilkin’s found that when you look under the hood, Venuto’s numbers were not too bad. It might have been more the lack of service from the midfield that made him look poor. On a more negative note, the move does highlight some of the mismanagement of funds Vancouver has been known for. MDS paid a transfer fee of either $100k or $400k (there is disagreement in multiple sources). They also paid $150k in GAM to NYC FC for his rights.
They also paid $150K to NYCFC in GAM for his rights, IIRC.— J.J. Adams (@TheRealJJAdams) August 1, 2019
When you have a club that is hesitant to spend money, it is imperative that you don’t spend that money on players such as Venuto, Blondell, and Ardaiz, if they are not going to feature prominently with the club. When I see some of the other players that are coming in to other clubs for similar transfer fees, it makes me envious!
Although not an overly bright star, Venuto was one of the very few potential offensive options for the Caps. In the long-term, I am not necessarily disappointed to see Venuto go, but in the short-term, it further cripples the Caps attack. I will be curious to see what MDS does the rest of the season with his wingers…maybe a Honduran will be the answer?
Finally, the Caps appear to be quickly making a move to replace Venuto. Reports suggest that the Caps will be acquiring Honduran international winger Michaell Chirinos from Olimpia
The 24-year-old appears to be a like-for-like switch with Venuto, with both being very similar in age, height, and playing style. Chirinos has 19 caps with the Honduran national team, wining the Copa Centroamericana in 2017 and playing in the 2019 Gold Cup.
After the Gold Cup, MLSsoccer.com listed Chirinos as one of their nine top MLS transfer targets coming out of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. In the article, they wrote that Chirinos “is smoothly aggressive on the ball, can pick a run, excels on the break and works hard in defense”. Unfortunately, “he may not score a great deal, but will drive play up the right all day”, meaning he won’t address the Caps goal scoring woes directly, but could provide service to others. You may have also noticed the term ‘right’, meaning that he plays on the opposite side of Venuto, where Lass is currently. Hopefully this move works out better than the other winger options thus far.
That are all the latest transfers, and rumors, in and out of the Whitecaps. With about a week left in the transfer window anything could happen. We will see though. What stands out for you? Anything you expect before the window closes on the 9th? Should the Caps hold still until the offseason or try to find someone right now?