Good Friday morning Caps fans. It has been a hectic week over here so I’m certainly craving the weekend — hoping you all are getting close to some well-earned rest as well.
In Caps world we didn’t get tangible links to a game-changing DP attacking midfielder but we got the next best thing: links to a quality upgrade at right-back.
Reports out of Portugal have Vancouver in for Sporting CP’s Bruno Gaspar, a Portuguese-Angolan fullback who has spent time on loan at Olympiacos recently. Transfermarkt confirmed the reporting, noting that it would be a loan-to-buy move, with the purchase option in the $1.75 million range.
While higher than his value on Transfermarkt, that isn’t a bad bit of business — Gaspar is 27 but has experience in some high-caliber European leagues. I haven’t had time to do extensive research this week but an initial glance seems like he would be a solid. upgrade over Jake Nerwinski.
How Gaspar's stats compare to MLS fullbacks via American Soccer Analysis, Whoscored, and Fbref. These stats come from Serie A, Liga Nos, and the Europa league so have to figure they would come up a bit in MLS. Seems solid overall. #VWFC pic.twitter.com/jg65cVI1hd— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) February 24, 2021
It looks like Gaspar would be a particular upgrade on the defensive end, something that would be welcome given the number of times Nerwinski wound up getting burned by opposing players (either of his own doing or because of defensive lapses elsewhere). Shoring up the right side would fix a major need.
Gaspar also looks like he can do a job going forward as well. While Nerwinski isn’t terrible offensively (remember when he led the team in goals for a quarter of a season?), his crossing leaves quite a bit to be desired and Gaspar would appear to pick up the slack in that regard.
This isn’t meant to slam Jake, who is a replacement level MLS player that is the kind of guy the Caps need to fill out the roster. Given that he just signed a contract extension, it stands to reason that he isn’t going anywhere and given that Gaspar has been capped by Angola he still might need to start some matches going forward.
To be honest, the new contract for Nerwinski, along with the arrival of Jamaican SuperDraft selection Javain Brown, makes these links a bit strange. The rumors have been confirmed by legit sources and the fact that Marc dos Santos is going to Portugal (especially after the Otavio links) is unsurprising.
But there is no way the team rolls into a season with three right backs on the roster, especially not when two of them take up international spots. The logical move would be to loan out Brown, who has some professional experience in Jamaica and could be a good fit for a lot of USL teams. It would have the upshot of both getting him some development and boosting his value if the Caps decide he isn’t in their long term plans.
On the other hand, it could put him in a better position to be a backup if Gaspar doesn’t work out or if Nerwinski is dangled as a trade chip next offseason.
I don’t think anyone is disappointed at the idea of upgrading at right back, although there is a fair amount of grumbling that Gaspar isn’t a number 10. While understandable, you can walk and chew gum at the same time as a front office and this wouldn’t in any way preclude the team from bringing aboard the playmaker that is so desperately needed. I’m not saying that folks shouldn’t be skeptical up until it is a done deal (I’m fully aware of how long this has been in the works, without success). But I also wouldn’t mind seeing Gaspar lining up across from Ali Adnan when the season kicks off in a month-and-a-half.
We are now in the “advanced negotiations” stage. This one has some real legs, folks!
The Vancouver Whitecaps are in advanced discussions to sign Sporting CP right back Bruno Gaspar, sources confirm. Would be a loan with purchase option.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) February 26, 2021
Sic Noticias first reported, who say the purchase option would be around $1.75m. pic.twitter.com/OU4CVpIV4d
Shameless Self Promotion
We finally have some Canadian Men’s National Team news and Luis rose to the occasion with his look at the 50-man Olympic roster, unveiled earlier this week
Best of the Rest
The Province runs down their five things to watch for the Caps as the season nears. No surprises here but still a good read
The Canadian women ended their She Believes Cup run with a loss to Brazil on Wednesday night
Toronto FC homegrown Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty is being linked to some of Europe’s top clubs as he has been dubbed the ‘next Davies’
Charlotte FC fans will be paying the highest ticket prices in the league when the team starts playing matches. The real surprise here was how well the Caps stack up in terms of cost. Score one for the front office, I guess?
MLS now has a diversity, equity and inclusion officer, something which falls in the category of “things which should have happened a while ago.” Still, kudos.