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Coffee with the Caps, Monday January 25

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Vancouver Whitecaps v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Good Monday morning Caps fans. Hope you all are rested up and fueled by the power of transfer rumors, ready to start your week.

Ah yes, the transfer rumor mill grinds on. But there are some pretty encouraging rumblings floating around out there that should leave us all with a sense of (cautious) optimism.

I am under no illusions that the Caps are going to sign Otavio, the FC Porto midfielder whom they have been (reliably) linked to. Otavio will be out-of-contract and, as a 25-year-old playmaker with Champions League and top European experience, will be coveted by other teams in Europe.

AC Milan are among those who appear to have tendered a contract to Otavio and it is structured a bit different than the Caps’ purported offer.

Now, the Caps are probably doing the right thing in jacking up the signing bonus, versus the salary, given that Otavio will probably eventually be looking for a move back to Europe and frontloading the deal would make Vancouver a more attractive pit stop in the meantime. That’s especially true given that he probably would get lost in the shuffle among a deep set of midfield options at AC Milan, making more playing time and a nice payday perhaps more attractive than you might think.

But there are probably going to be options that emerge which fall between a potential Scudetto winning side and Vancouver. That isn’t a knock on the Caps but the simple fact of the matter — there is a reason that FC Cincinnati’s legitimate interest in Papu Gomez hasn’t gone anywhere. Guys who play for top European sides are going to exhaust all other available options before acquiescing to an MLS move.

Now, if the Caps were to beat out Milan, Leicester and Napoli, Otavio would instantly be the best player in franchise history, one of the most valuable players in MLS history and the biggest statement of intent from a Canadian side since Sebastian Giovinco signed for Toronto FC.

He would also be exactly what the Caps need: a guy who can hold onto the ball, progress the ball and even track back and defend every now and then. There’s a reason the guy has a Transfermarkt value in the tens of millions of dollars.

Now, there have been a lot of people on the interwebs theorizing that the Caps are playing smoke and mirrors, tabling a bid that they know won’t be accepted in order to make it look like they’re in for a real game-changing player.

I don’t fault the cynicism, necessarily. The Caps haven’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt in recent years and it comes on the heels of failed efforts to sign Chiquinho, who will be staying in Lisbon after Benfica had a change in heart.

But I genuinely doubt there are clubs in world football who would go to the effort of tracking, scouting and eventually making an offer to a player, just to make a point to fans. Think about all the wasted manpower there.

The club is past the point where being merely linked to a player of this caliber will satisfy fans that the team is on the right track. Real signings of quality are needed and Schuster and Co. get that. Not going to defend the Caps too hard here but this certainly appears to be legit interest that will probably come up just short.

The quality of the two DP targets thus far should lend a sense of optimism around who they do potentially land. That’s if only because whoever does come in at the number 10 role will be held to the standards of Otavio and Chiquinho, the ones who got away. Going out and buying a guy from the Ecuadorian third division is only going to reinforce the stereotypes everyone has of Vancouver.

And it should not be lost that the Caps appear to be in for a decent TAM level player as well: Nemanja Glavcic, who is playing for Croatian side Slaven Belupo.

Yeah he ain’t Otavio but he was promising enough for Sam Rowan to peg him as a sensible enough signing for the Caps last spring (talk about visionary). His passing ability seems to be a step above Leonard Owusu and he would give the team a bona fide set-piece taker (something missing at the moment). He isn’t as proven as you might like but he is 23-years-old and could develop nicely into the kind of guy that could get moved on in a couple of years for a profit.

The Caps would also get some needed midfield depth while also allowing Janio Bikel to do what he does best: mopping up attacks and getting stuck in.

It's just Serbian outlets who are making the link as of now and, given that I don’t speak Serbian, it probably is wise to pump the brakes her too. But Glavcic is represented by the same agency which also reps Owusu and Ranko Veselinovic so maybe it all kinda makes sense?

Enjoy the silly season roller coaster folks. There’s more where this all came from.

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