Good Friday morning Caps fans. While it may be the new year, there has not been a whole lot of new rumblings to report on. The team needs to pick up the pace if for no other reason than to give me something to write about ... ah, who are we kidding—I always have something to write about.
There have actually been more rumors about outgoing players than incoming ones—weird for a team with so many obvious holes to fill.
The most substantial have come around the potential return of Jon Erice to Spain. Erice has another year left on his contract but given his widely reported conflict with Marc dos Santos and the fact that he lacks the pace or physicality the Caps really need in an MLS-caliber DM, a move back to Spain seems logical.
A return to the Spanish second division seems to be the destination of choice, with the most widely reported team being the one he vacated in coming to Vancouver: Albacete. The item has gotten a fair amount of play in (the surprisingly volomnous) local media.
Ramis abre la puerta del Albacete a Jon Erice https://t.co/wgqWUAKwVu— Albacete Balompié (@albacetebp) January 3, 2020
Erice himself has also discussed the matter, sounding like a man who really wants a new job but also doesn’t want to force a mutual contract termination and leave some dough on the table.
Jon Erice during an interview with @radiomarcaab: "The Albacete is a real option, but for now I have a contract with the Vancouver of a year" "I would like to return to Albacete, because it has been a spectacular site for me and for my family"#VWFC— (@GlassCityFC) January 2, 2020
On the other hand, the Caps are nearly certain to sign one or two midfielders who will render Erice even more irrelevant than he already is. At the same time, he is the team’s second highest earner—not ideal for a player who, hopefully, will be a depth option at best. The Caps would be foolish to expect a transfer fee and probably would be better off just letting him go for free and eating some of the cost—not exactly a hot take, I know, but a decision it appears the Caps will be tasked with sooner rather than later.
The other potential outgoing is Yordy Reyna, whose merits and drawbacks in the current system have been discussed at length in this column and on this site. But some rumors have cropped up that Alianza Lima is taking an interest in bringing Reyna back to Peru.
While I get that Alianza is a legit option and probably the only Peruvian club which can claim to be competitive against its other continental foes in the Copa Libertadores, this seems like a weird move for Reyna and the Caps. Despite a season that was admittedly a step back, Reyna is European caliber—even if it is a second tier league. I don’t quite get why he would forgo MLS and retreat to the weaker league of his home country unless homesickness was playing a role. At 26 years old, Reyna has plenty of time left at the top levels of the Americas or Europe.
To be fair, the article does say that Alianza are interested and makes no mention of whether the feeling is mutual with Reyna. It also does not allude to whether the club has the ability to meet the likely substantial asking price the Caps would slap on Reyna. This is especially true given his new contract and the fact that a capable replacement to play a similar role will cost far more than it would have when the Caps purchased Reyna from RB Salzburg. Unless things between the playmaker and MDS have really chilled, it is hard to see this one getting done.
On the incoming front we are merely left with a rundown of the best potential January transfer targets for MLS clubs.
A couple names jump out here but Feyenoord midfielder Renato Tapia, who has reportedly fallen out of favor at the Dutch club, seems to make the most sense. He’s Peruvian—a well the Caps have obviously gone to before—and is a pretty complete defensive midfielder. As a bonus, he offers cover at the CB and RB positions, which would be useful even in light of of the Erik Godoy signing. And Tapia is a realistic target—he has been linked with MLS in the past, even as recently as July.
Let us know in the comments what other names intrigue you from that list. In the meantime, on with the links!
Shameless Self Promotion
In light of the Cavallini signing, it is perfectly reasonable to pivot to whether or not he is going to get any service. Caleb adroitly dives into that exact question
Best of the Rest
Some interesting tactical predictions for the upcoming MLS seasons
A New Year’s wish list for each MLS team from the league’s media folks. I think it is safe to say some of Whitecaps Twitter (TM) would do well to resolve to follow the Caps’ wish
Inter Miami finally have a manager! Our long national nightmare is over!