Good Monday morning Caps fan. Apologies for missing Friday and for keeping today on the shorter side—I’m currently moving cross-country and have been spending lots of mental energy preparing to live in Sporting Kansas City territory (and, you know, packing).
That means I’m a bit late to the game of the biggest Caps storyline right now: the potential (even likely) departure of In-Beom Hwang.
[한준 TV] | Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Hwang Inbeom (황인범) is currently drawing interest from teams in Germany, Denmark, and Belgium.— Tavern of the Taegeuk Warriors (@taegeuktavern) July 31, 2020
There haven’t been any concrete negotiations yet but things could change soon in the coming weeks.#VWFC | @GlassCityFC pic.twitter.com/tRD7KwESfK
After an MLS is Back tournament where In-Beom showed much of the same (slightly above average, if not quite sharp enough to make an impact on the match), many were saying now is the time for the Caps to cash out on their Korean midfielder.
Per usual, Caleb lays it out there pretty well in his latest article when he describes In-Beom’s performances thusly: “His stats are almost always slightly above average but his role and output are not sufficient for a designated player. It is not the case that In-Beom is a bad player or that he provides nothing, but he isn’t going to dominate a game the way guys like Alejandro Pozuelo or Nicolas Lodiero are.”
I’ve seen a lot of shallow “In-Beom is shit” takes and those are obviously wrong. He has had his moments for the national team and the Caps and still clearly has enough value to attract European interest.
But that doesn’t mean he has what the Caps need right now, especially when taking up a DP slot and especially when Leonard Owusu looks good enough to slot into his preferred number 8 role, meaning the Caps really need a playmaker who can be further forward, a role In-Beom has never excelled in.
I don’t need to tell you that the Caps need more production out of In-Beom to justify the DP tag. I think most fans, while disappointed by last season, were willing to give him some slack given how ragged he was by year’s end. I don’t think any fan really wishes him ill in future endeavors but it’s time for a separation we all knew was coming eventually.
MLS is Back made it clear the role In-Beom offers (a capable number 8 who can ping a ball in but who can’t pull the strings on a match, nor track back defensively, in an elite way) is not what the team needs. It certainly wasn’t useful as the team tried to Stoke City their way through the tournament and it doesn’t work well even in a more open tacticsl strategy.
This was not a transfer that thrilled In-Beom from the beginning and he has been open and honest about that, to his credit (I mean why lie about something so obvious). It is frustrating that what I consider the Caps most high profile signing in recent years, maybe even in the MLS history of the club (I would argue more so than Cavallini), didn’t realize his significant potential.
If the club is to recoup a chunk of his transfer fee, however, now is the time to sell, with mid-tier European clubs looking to replenish stocks which might get raided in a soft transfer market and an asset which still holds some value. When factoring in bonuses from the Davies transfer, Axel Schuster (don’t look now, he actually has a solid transfer record thus far) should have a chunk of change to find someone who is a better fit for the team.
With that, here are some links...
Shameless Self Promotion
Best of the Rest
If you want some motivation for this Monday, Phonzie says to believe in yourself.
A good look at how the aforementioned Owusu could be used.
The rest of the MiB semis include Philadelphia, Portland and Minnesota.
Cubo Torres may not be Josef Martinez but he’s a striker with a pulse and right now that looks good for Atlanta.