What a week it has been.
With only one day remaining before the MLS roster freeze, the Vancouver Whitecaps have brought in Canadian international Junior Hoilett through to the end of the 2023 season.
They also remain positive that a move away for Sergio Córdova is imminent. The Whitecaps’ designated player is currently in Turkey where a number of clubs have expressed interest in the striker’s services.
Turkish Süper Lig club Alanyaspor seem to be the most likely of candidates. The Turkish transfer window closes on Friday.
However, Whitecaps’ CEO and sporting director Axel Schuster did temper expectations a little, saying that any deal “was not over the line.”
The Canadian contingent grows
After a summer transfer window that saw Sam Adekugbe and Richie Laryea come to Vancouver, the general belief around Whitecaps’ fandom was that it had been a successful one.
But bringing in Hoilett—who spent last year in England with Championship side Reading F.C.—has been taken as the cherry on top of it all.
Schuster said Hoilett will meet up with the team in Toronto and begin practicing with them next week.
“He has trained with a Championship team for a while and has also played in the Gold Cup,” he said. “What that exactly means and how close he is to a shape that he can immediately help us and play, we will see. And the coaching staff will decide.”
Over the summer, Hoilett captained the Canadian men’s national team at the Gold Cup, and last year, he played in all three of Canada’s 2022 FIFA World Cup matches.
He is the joint all-time assist leader for his country with 16. He also has 15 goals in his 59 caps.
Córdova’s time in Vancouver all but done
When Córdova was introduced as the Whitecaps’ third DP player for this season, there were questions over his goal production. Last year with Real Salt Lake—while on loan from German club FC Augsburg—the Venezuelan scored 11 goals.
But it took a while for him to get started. Nine of his goals came in the second half of the regular season. The other two were during the playoffs.
And the Whitecaps paid a hefty price for him. A $2.2m US transfer fee was paid to Augsburg. They also had to trade away their 2024 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick and $300K US in GAM to RSL to purchase his MLS rights.
Córdova was also hurt by the lack of a preseason and an early-season hamstring injury, which sidelined him for around eight weeks.
Still, in the 26 matches across all competitions he did play, he managed only four goals and one assist.
“[Córdova] was not playing the minutes he was hoping for. Obviously, he wasn’t playing the minutes we were hoping when we signed him. And the main reason for that was in our offence, we have excellent players. Actually, two players in the top of MLS,” Schuster said.
The attacking duo of Brian White and Ryan Gauld, both who have scored in the double digits so far this season, have propelled the Whitecaps this season. In fact, Vancouver is seventh in MLS for goals scored with 43.
Even Simon Becher, who has played significantly fewer minutes, is tied with Córdova on goals.
It has been reported by Manuel Veth of Transfermarkt that a fee near €2m is being discussed between the Whitecaps and Alanyaspor.
“As long as it’s not over the line, there’s no guarantee that it gets over the line,” Schuster said. “But the conversations over the last 24 hours have trended in the right way.”