Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all have had a good week and are keeping the spooky energy at bay on this Friday the 13th.
The Caps have touched down in Spain for their pre-season training and a couple new transfer rumors have touched down on our desk as well.
The first one has to deal with a player who has tagged along: Salif Sane, a Senegalese centerback who plied his trade for many years for Schalke in Germany and represented his country in the 2018 World Cup.
As far as trialists go, Sane is a pretty big one. Out of contract after an uninspiring and injury-plagued season in the 2. Bundesliga (Schalke got promoted but are going to need an excellent Rückrunde to avoid going back down), one imagines the prospect of checking out a former Bundesliga guy who briefly overlapped with Axel Schuster at Schalke was worth a punt.
Sane is a bit of a tough read given that knee injuries over the last couple of seasons nearly jeopardized his career but at his prime he was a pretty vital cog defensively for Schalke before the bottom fell out and they went down.
The strange part of all of this is that we thought the Caps had their centerback depth chart pretty well and set and assumed the last free international roster spots would go towards attacking players.
This news means we may need to change that assumption, meaning that either a CB is headed out the door, the Caps are going to punt on bringing in a wide player or they will need another international spot.
On its surface, however, the move for Sane wouldn’t be a bad idea. He would add some needed veteran leadership for a backline that skews young and if his minutes are watched closely, one imagines he can still play at a pretty high level.
Still, a history of knee injuries playing on the BC Place turf seems like a bad idea, particularly if it is going to make the roster math even more complicated.
Part of that is because the Caps are rumored to be interested in Israeli striker Tai Baribo, currently plying his trade in Austria for Wolfsberger SC.
Sources! #VWFC are indeed interested in Israeli striker Tai Baribo. The club feels that the Wolfsberger AC forward is an interesting profile.— Manuel Veth (@ManuelVeth) January 9, 2023
But a deal is not done at the moment and the Whitecaps also have other options. Baribo has scored 14 goals in 25 games this season. pic.twitter.com/dJP0s3INAF
This doesn’t seem to be a particularly advanced transfer (Veth reported the Caps haven’t even tabled a bid and have other options).
Wolfsberger have had a bit of a rough season thus far but Baribo has been by far their best offensive player. He is not really what I expected for a target but he seems pretty well regarded.
Baribo has gotten a look for the national team and while he doesn’t seem to be particularly pacey, nor can he replicate Lucas Cavallini’s hold-up play or physicality, he does seem solid in the air and is good on the ball. And while it is tough to see from highlight videos how good his finishing is, his track record in the Austrian Bundesliga is pretty impressive.
Still, there is obviously always a risk in bringing in a guy from a non-MLS league (particularly one that, outside of RB Salzburg, isn’t as good) and the Caps will presumably need to splash out a transfer fee for the guy.
I think if you put a guy scoring double digit goals per season in a respectable European league in a team with Ryan Gauld, I think it should work — but I’m not as confident as I would like that Baribo and Brian White will take this team to the promised land.
I wouldn’t mind seeing if there is an MLS striker available who fits the profile the Caps are looking for (Josef Martinez ain’t gonna happen but maybe you could tempt an apparently unhappy Cristian Arango?) before going in for a guy like Baribo.
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