Whitecaps Preseason Roster Moves

by Michael Martinez
Whitecaps DP Ryan Gauld after scoring against LAFC last season

We are just 22 days away from the start of the 2022 MLS season! The Whitecaps have been relatively busy in the transfer market, but not in the way you would think. So this is the first Transfer Talk post of the season with plenty more on the way. The first few will be old news, but I will continue to provide updates as the season goes on. 

Let’s dive in!

Key Club Departures

There had been a surprising amount of players leaving the club during this off-season. While I may not agree with a couple of them, ultimately, it’s what’s best for the club to move forward.

Andy Rose

Andy Rose started 53 of his 60 appearances in all competitions since signing with the club before the 2019 season while tallying three goals and three assists. Rose started all 21 appearances in his final year in Vancouver while also working as an assistant coach for the Whitecaps Academy U-19 team.

Rose has since announced his retirement from the beautiful game and will be joining the Seattle Sounders coaching staff. Having played for the Sounders from 2012- 2016, making 107 appearances across all competitions, it was natural that he would want to go back. 

Bruno Gaspar

In March of last year, Gaspar, 28, joined Whitecaps FC on a one-year loan from Portuguese first division side Sporting CP. The Angolan international made 12 starts in 18 appearances, including playoffs, recording a goal, and assisting the club.

Bruno was an integral part of the team towards the end of the season. He started nearly every match in the Whitecaps push for that final playoff spot. So it is a bit of a surprise the Whitecaps did not try to keep him at the end of the season. It ultimately came down to money and what Sporting CP wanted for him. 

Janio Bikel

Bikel started 39 of 46 appearances in 2020 and 2021, recording one goal and one assist. The native of Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, was purchased for $2.2 million in February of 2020. His current market value exceeds that.

He was a great player for the year that the Whitecaps had him. He was great in the MDS’s system but struggled with Sartini. As a result, he will be loaned to Serie B side LR Vicenza, with an option to buy. There can be no complaints if the Whitecaps can get a reasonable fee for him.

Theo Bair

Academy graduate Theo Bair has transferred to Scottish Premiership club St. Johnstone FC. The Whitecaps made the deal official on deadline day. Vancouver will receive $135,000 initially and retain 50% of the player’s rights. However, future add-ons could add up to around $470,000, which is Bair’s current market value. Bair moves to Scotland after spending last season with Norwegian second division side HamKam. 

Maxime Crepeau

The one that hurts the most, GK Maxime Crepeau, has gone off to conference rivals LAFC for $1 million in GAM. If particular performance metrics are met, whitecaps will also receive a first-round pick in the 2025 MLS SuperDraft and conditional GAM. In addition, the club will receive $250,000 in 2022 GAM, $250,000 in 2023 GAM, and $500,000 in GAM between 2023 and 2024 based on the player’s roster status. The Whitecaps will also retain a significant fee percentage if Crépeau transfers abroad.

Many have speculated that he was unhappy here in Vancouver and was looking for a way out after their short playoff run. As the starting GK for the Canadian National Team, there were a lot of journalists, including myself, that expected him to move off to Europe. He may still do that after his stint at LAFC, but that remains to be seen. 

What to Expect in 2022

The Whitecaps may have lost five players and only added one, but that does not mean the team has weakened by any means. On the contrary, most of the starting XI is returning for this upcoming season. With the addition of Tristan Blackmon from LAFC, Sebastian Berhalter from Columbus, and players like Caio Alexandre and Pedro Vite coming back from injury/Visa issues, it will feel like we have four brand new signings.  

The Whitecaps could still be in the market for another GK, DM, and a proper striker, but no offers or concrete rumors as of right now. We will keep you updated if any news or stories regarding new players.

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