The Vancouver Whitecaps have acquired Hull City player David Milinkovic on loan. His acquisition is a risk, but with little to lose, it is one worth taking.
It has been a very busy offseason thus far for the Vancouver Whitecaps. The club has brought in a host of new players as Marc dos Santos looks to rebuild a tired and needy roster.
The latest player to join the Whitecaps ahead of the 2020 Major League Soccer season is Hull City winger, David Milinkovic.
Milinkovic has been a journeyman for the large part of his career. He’s played in England, Italy, and Scotland. His most recent stint has been with Hull City where he has been unable to break into the first team on a regular basis. As a result, he is being sent to the Whitecaps in hopes he can find good form.
The 25-year-old has yet to have a standout season in his career, which is a cause for concern with his arrival. To date, his most impressive performances came in the 2017/18 season when he scored six goals in 22 appearances for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.
However, his next season at Hull City did not yield better results. He made fewer than 10 appearances over the course of the 2018/19 season for the English club.
Despite an inconsistent track record at clubs, Milinkovic could revitalize his career in MLS. He showed quality during his time at Hearts and may just need a change of pace at a new club to get back to good form.
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If he can compete for opportunities with the Whitecaps, he might just be able to replicate the type of quality that landed him at Hull City in the first place. At just 22, Milinkovic did score seven goals and assist another eight in the 2016/17 season for ACR Messina in Serie C, the third tier of Italian football. He has talent and his acquisition could do wonders for the depth of the Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps don’t necessarily have a lot to lose in 2020. They finished well outside of the playoff places in 2019 and are still building under dos Santos. There isn’t a concrete expectation that the club can make the postseason this year. For this reason, a loan deal to bring in Milinkovic doesn’t have dire consequences if it turns sour. If they get great performances from the winger, it could lead to a permanent transfer down the road.
It really is a smart move by the front office here to bring in a player who is unproven in England but has shown quality elsewhere. Hull City clearly saw something that made them acquire him in the first place. Now the Vancouver Whitecaps will have a year to discover if they can see the same talent.
Milinkovic might flame out into nothing. But he might also be a serviceable starter in MLS. Vancouver are simply kicking the tires, and you cannot blame them for that.