Being a fan of the Whitecaps in this particular off season has been a little like being a truffle pig in a world without truffles.
But now at least we have something with Marc Weber reporting that the club have signed Yordy Reyna from the Austrian side FC Red Bull Salzburg.
It’s true that all that most of us have to go on is Reyna’s Wikipedia page and some YouTube highlights but that feels like a whole plethora of truffles compared to what we had before (Yes I’m aware that the correct collective noun for truffles is “heap” but Plethora of Truffles sounds like a Prog Rock band who would have released an eponymous album in 1973 before splitting up following a particularly poorly received set at the Oxford Real Ale Festival).
So what can we learn and, more importantly what can we speculate on, given the meagre fare available?
Here are a x scenarios (Memo to self: come back and edit this when you run out of ideas, but definitely try to get passed one).
Giles Barnes is on the way out- Reyna looks to be a very similar style of player and will definitely mean less of a hit on the salary cap. And anyway, how many “Is he really a forward or a winger” players do the team actually need?
The team needs another “Is he really a forward or a winger?” player- If the plan is to switch to a 4-3-3/4-2-1-3 in 2017 then a front three of Reyna, Barnes and Manneh could be a nightmare to defend against given that each is capable of playing anywhere along the front line.
Position Bolaños centrally with Laba and Jacobson/Teibert as holding cover and it’s suddenly not inconceivable that the Whitecaps could score some goals and, with Hurtado, Davies and Techera all capable of playing in that forward position, Carl Robinson won’t be too hampered by the inevitable injuries and suspensions that will come along.
The system stays the same but with Bolaños as the number ten- The tried and trusted (by Robinson anyway) 4-2-3-1 could simply be tweaked to push Reyna or Barnes on to the right and allow Bolaños to become the main creative hub of the team.
Any other scenarios though would feel like wild speculation rather than distinct possibilities.
4-4-2? It could work but it’s hard to see the coach wanting his team to be that open (especially on the road).
3-5-2/5-3-2? Playing three central defenders is the fashionable tactic right now but any chance of that happening probably went out of the window with the long term injury to David Edgar.
It’s hard to imagine there won’t be at least one more signing (though at least two are probably needed) but as things stand the current starting eleven can at least be graded as “promising”.
Definitely not “great” and it’s open to question if it could actually deliver on any promises made but at least it wouldn’t be absolutely terrible.