Morning party people, hope your weekend was as fabulous as that of Korean director Bong Joon-Ho, who cleaned up at the Oscars last night.
I’m in the somewhat rare Monday morning position of having this column basically already written because ... the Caps actually signed someone? Over the weekend? With almost no advance notice? What a time to be alive.
our backline— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) February 9, 2020
Welcome to the Village, Ranko
The Caps nabbed Serbian centerback Ranko Veselinović from Serbian SuperLeague club FK Vojvodina in a victory for the Caps’ backline depth but a loss for me being able to spell player names from memory on tight deadline.
In seriousness, Veselinović offers a lot, even at a position in which the team was already pretty well stocked. Ranko captained his prior club—at 20 years of age, a major testament to both his quality and the respect that he has within the Serbian system. The country is also a pretty reliable producer of solid youth talent and Veselinović has represented them at every youth level, although he has earned just one U-21 cap since 2017 (according to the admittedly unreliable Wikipedia).
Watching film for a centerback is more or less useless but if you’re so inclined, this is one of the few videos I’ve been able to find (another video I found was from a guy I am 50 percent sure is another guy with the same name) from a SuperLiga game last year.
So the good, according to people who know more about the Serbian SuperLiga than I do: It appears a lot of the Serbian press/football public are a bit baffled by this move which means a) he probably will want to use Vancouver (and probably Axel Schuster’s know-how) to get a European move and b) people think he could borderline already move to a stronger European league (the Serbian league is decent but beyond Red Star and Partizan the quality drops off a bit).
Veselinović’s radar is impressive, especially given his distribution abilities. He isn’t likely to be a massive physical presence and his pace isn’t really a selling point but sometimes this can be an asset, as a player must be more sound technically and in terms of their defensive positioning. Bringing in a CB who can hoof the ball forward accurately and efficiently is a big win for the backline as well.
There are even rumors that he could potentially slot in as a number 6, based off a throwaway line on his transfermarkt page that lists it as an alternate position. It does not, however, note him as ever playing in a DM role. Therefore I categorize this much in the same way as Erik Godoy at RB was a thing a year ago—it might happen and it makes a lot of sense but until I actually see it on the pitch, I’ll be skeptical.
Ironically, this move may well seal Godoy’s fate as a RB, as well as potentially seal Amer Didic departure. But having three players that have gotten significant minutes at a senior (Cornelius) or youth (Khmiri and Veselinović) isn’t a bad thing and fortifies what was already a strength. Yeah, the Caps are still in need of a midfielder but this is a signing (or loan, with it becoming permanent after 12 matches) that seems like it could be a sneaky good signing. It also could lead to a profit if he gets sold onto Europe in a season or two
Now if we could just get a midfielder or two in...
Shameless Self Promotion
Caleb gives a fuller run down of what Ranko brings to the table, including more translation of Serbian language posts than I ever thought I’d read
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