The Vancouver Whitecaps have seemingly found their centre-forward, targetting 31-year-old Fredy Montero. If nothing else, the move is an exciting one.
The Marc dos Santos era at the Vancouver Whitecaps started with a fire sale.
Kei Kamara left in the expansion draft, Kendall Watson was traded away for $825,000 in allocation money, neither Brek Shea or Aly Ghazal’s substantial wages are on the books, and there is still $750,000 earned from Alphonso Davies’ sale last season.
When dos Santos was first hired, the club stated that they were taking on a long-term project, one that would not be fixed in one offseason and would require some major squad surgery. Although the losses of Watson and Kamara are seemingly detrimental to the current team, in the long-term, there is a plan in place to rip it up and start all over again.
That said, the Whitecaps still want to be competitive now. Every team does. And although they have made some big additions this winter, including signing exciting 22-year-old Hwang In-beom from South Korea on a Designated Player contract, there was still a major hole in their roster. You did not need to look very hard to find it. Just a quick glance at the mlsssoccer.com roster page would tell you everything you need to know.
There are only two forwards listed on the Vancouver Whitecaps squad: Joaquin Ardaiz, who was only just signed this offseason and is a highly unproven 20-year-old, and Theo Blair, a 19-year-old, homegrown rookie. If there was ever a roster that needed a major sprucing up in the striking department, it is the Whitecaps’.
And so, this week, news broke that the Whitecaps are working on a free-agent deal to bring Fredy Montero back to the club. Although the financial stipulations are yet to be worked out, with Montero uncertain to be considered a DP that can be bought down with Target Allocation Money, it is believed that this deal will be completed with Sporting CP releasing him from his contract.
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In 33 appearances for the Whitecaps in the 2017 season, Montero scored 13 scored and assisted six more. He was integral to the team making the playoffs and many fans wanted the club to bring him back. They were not able to oblige. But this time, with funds loosening up thanks to recent trades and wages offloaded, the Whitecaps have the capital to pursue the Colombian centre-forward.
When their offseason has revolved around replenishing youth and building for the long-term, it is a tad curious that they are now chasing a 31-year-old who likely has little room to develop and negligible resale value. Nevertheless, given his recent performances in MLS, you cannot say that this is nothing but an exciting signing for the Whitecap faithful.
Montero is a proven goalscorer in MLS, totalling 47 goals in 119 appearances for the Seattle Sounders prior to his time in Canada, and he would immediately improve a bereft and lacking forward group that is in desperate need of some investment.
Montero, if nothing else, is a tantalising acquisition. He may not quite be the youthful, burgeoning centre-forward that fans wanted, but he is an immediate starter, a proven success in the league, and an improvement on what is already there. I guess, then, you can’t really complain too much.