It’s been a busy day personnel wise for Vancouver Whitecaps and it’s only going to get busier in the days ahead.
Some moves we expected, but there’s been some surprises thrown into the mix.
There’s still an air of uncertainty hanging over the camp, as players and fans wait to see who is going to still be in the Caps squad come the end of 2011. Martin Rennie is clearly making his mark on the team.
The two part MLS Re-Entry draft is looming on the horizon for the next two Mondays. Vancouver have the first pick in both parts and we can only hope that they use them wisely and better than last year.
In preparation for the addition of new talent, the Whitecaps announced today that they were not renewing the current options on five players: Joe Cannon, Jay Nolly, Greg Janicki, John Thorrington and Peter Vagenas.
In addition, defender Jonathan Leathers is now out of contract.
Whilst there won’t be too many people up in arms at the thought of losing the four outfield players, it is surprising (to an extent) that both fan favourite goalies could be on their way out of Vancouver.
All six players could still be re-signed. The players and the Caps have until 2pm on December 2nd to renegotiate new deals, or else the players will go into the cyber Monday shopping basket, unless they choose not to be included.
Our first thought is that Cannon will get the chance to re-sign, but on a much lower contract. His 2011 base salary was $199,500, with a guaranteed compensation of $209,756.25 (that quarter could be the key!).
The contract makes Cannon the sixth highest paid goalkeeper in MLS, but way behind New York’s Frank Rost and his staggering $545,460 contract. Jay Nolly, on the other hand, is picking up $65,000.
I personally think that Cannon will get first refusal on a new deal, and if he says no, then we’ll see Jay back here next season, otherwise Nolly will sadly be on his way to pastures new.
The others are most likely to be on their way out, although Leathers may pick up the offer of a new contract if he wants to just be a squad player.
Midfielder Shea Salinas has definitely gone though, traded to San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for allocation money.
Not a big loss to the Caps as far as I’m concerned.
Salinas played 26 MLS games for Vancouver, starting 18, in a season curtailed by a pre-season injury. 1695 minutes clocked up, with only 1 goal and 3 assists to show for it. Not really what you’re wanting from a first team regular.
Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t one. He would get a run in the team, then drop back to the bench. Perform well one week, underperform the next. You just never knew what Shea Salinas you were going to get.
He certainly seemed to be more of an impact player for us when coming off the bench, having his best performances in a blue and white jersey when coming on late in the game and running at tired defences.
It’s a nice luxury to have, but not one Vancouver can afford right now, especially when the end results weren’t prolific enough.
And talking of Impact players, that brings us nicely to Brian Ching.
We’re going to write more about Montreal and the whole Ching thing in our Metro column on Friday.
For now though, we’ve been hatching a plan.
Ching is not going to play for Montreal. No way San Jose.
Will he retire or will Montreal try and cut a deal somwhere, somehow?
Rumours are that they want to play hardball with Houston and take Canadian defender Andrew Hainault from the Dynamo.
With Montreal still not having a Canadian in their squad, it may make sense to the Frenchies but is likely to be no dice with the Dynamo.
So just how important is Brian Ching to Houston?
He is their poster boy, long time servant and the dream for all the Orange men (and ladies) is for Ching to play one final season for the Dynamo, open their new downtown stadium and then bow out to a hero’s farewell.
It’s a nice happy ending, but is it one that Houston are prepared to lose a top player for? I think yes, but not Hainault. And that’s where Vancouver Whitecaps could come in.
Montreal best chance of a deal involving Ching could be with a three way trade and Vancouver may have just the player they are needing and wanting – Alain Rochat.
Although not officially confirmed, Vancouver should be adding South Korean defender Lee Young-pyo to the team by the end of the week.
An international who has appeared in the World Cup Finals, Young-pyo ticks the boxes as an experienced defender, if one who is getting on a bit, who will appeal to a certain demographic in the city, which always helps in getting some extra bums on seats.
He’s primarily a left back, and we already have two of them in Alain Rochat and Jordan Harvey, but he’s also been playing right back recently, in the latter stages of his career.
Harvey didn’t impress me much in that position after his move from Philadelphia, but he did once he pushed forward into a left midfield role late in the season.
He was great there and formed a productive overlapping partnership with Alain Rochat up that left flank.
When Young-pyo comes, it may be as another designated player, but if not, he’ll be commanding a fairly hefty salary at any rate and is unlikely to be a bench player.
So where does that leave Rochat?
Possibly on his way to Montreal.
Rochat moved to Switzerland at an early age but is from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. He commands a Canadian spot under MLS rules. Just what the Impact need. Plus he speaks French and they may need that even more!
Trading Rochat for Ching, would then allow the Whitecaps to re-trade Ching back to Houston for Adam Moffat.
Moffat is the midfielder we need and is only over in the US thanks to Martin Rennie bringing him here from Scotland, as our previous interview with him outlined.
Pipe dreams or a realistic transfer possibility?
The next few days could get interesting.