August 7th Edition

Whitecaps make a huge splash + Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David romours

Whitecaps make a huge splash + Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David rumours

The phrase “here we go” was working overtime this week in Canadian footy as a number of transfer deals got over the line including several key Canadian men’s national team players.

The Vancouver Whitecaps particularly became a whole lot wavier after the acquisitions of CanMNT fullbacks Richie Laryea and Sam Adekugbe to highlight their already talented squad.

The moves didn’t stop there, and with the European season around the corner, attention perhaps starts to turn towards the moves that haven’t been made yet.

All that and more ahead in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.

CREDIT: Tagwa Moyo / DARBY Magazine

While several key CanMNT players have made moves this offseason, perhaps the two biggest rumoured moves are still up the air.

Tajon Buchanan remains at Club Brugge, where he scored his first European goal last month in a 3-0 Europa Conference League win over AGF.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, Jonathan David is still a Lille player and his club manager Paulo Fonseca says it might stay that way this window as the club have reportedly recieved no concrete offers for the 23-year-old. The striker market has been a little bit quiet this window in general, as the lack of a move for Harry Kane has perhaps preventing other dominos from falling.

Rumours have started to heat up again around Tajon. After it seemed like a done deal that he would be moving to Serie A side Inter Milan late last season, it now appears that Premier League side Burnley are interested in the 24-year-old winger. Whatever happens, Buchanan has a lot to prove in his third season after glimpses of his elite talent at the 2022 World Cup.

This is a big year for David as well, and as both players enter their prime playing at the highest level possible becomes important. This will be a story to keep a close eye on over the next few weeks.

CREDIT: Vancouver Whitecaps

Other news this week

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps moving heavy with Richie Laryea and Sam Adekugbe signings. With Toronto FC experiencing an 11-game losing streak, anyone would want to leave. Laryea signs with the ‘Caps on a short-term loan until the end of 2023, with a verbal agreement to seal a permanent transfer for $1.5 million. One thing is for sure, Richie is going to be playing really effective and exciting football going forward. This is a huge plus for the ‘Caps and their latter end of the season is looking good. Speaking of smart transfers, the ‘Caps have signed Sam Adekugbe from Hatayspor for $1.5 million on a 2.5 year contract. From the Iceteca viral celebration to his goal versus the US at Tim Horton’s Field, do we need to say more? The Whitecaps weren’t done with transfers. They landed a new long-term contract for CB Ranko Veselinovic while allowing Deibert Caceido leave on loan. Like MTL, they also signed 19-year-old CB propspect in Gambian Dembo Saidykan. It’s been a productive transfer deadline day for the West Coast.

🌊 It was a big weekend for the Caps in League1 BC action as well, as they took home both the men’s and women’s championship at BC Place Stadium on Saturday. The women’s side beat Unity FC 3-1, while the men's academy team beat Victoria Highlanders in penos. The women’s team now advances to the League1 Canada inter-provincial championship starting August 11.

🔵 Rudy Camacho leaves CF MTL. In the wake of MTL’s signing of Colombian youth starlet Fernando Alvarez, it was clear someone had to go. For the long time servant of the club, Rudy Camacho has been traded to Columbus Crew with Montréal receiving $400k in GAM. The departure of Camacho is a mixed feeling for many fans. His departure was somewhat overdue but in the last two seasons Stade Saputo saw the best out of the French defender. In terms of business, this was the best case scenario. To off-load a veteran for a young prospect and getting decent money out of the move is good. It looks like Wilfried Nancy picking up veteran players from both Vancouver and Montréal.

☕️ Ashtone Morgan announces retirement. The Toronto native, TFC academy graduate, 2017 MLS treble winner, and five-time CanChamps winner announced his retirement at the age of 32. After serving his last two seasons with Forge FC, it is evident that only a very few Canadian will have the same accolades as him. His name forever etched in TFC lore and MLS history.

🇪🇸 Cyle Larin officially signs with Spanish Primera club RCD Mallorca. After months of speculation, Cyle Larin has finally been transfered to RCD Mallorca for 7.5 million euros. This transfer fee makes Larin the second most expensive signing in Mallorca history. If Larin can replicate his form from last year, he may be the low-key striker that will impress La Liga. This is a great move for him, as he will continue to compete in Europe’s top level.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Ike Ugbo is already balling out with his new side Cardiff City in the Championship. The Canadian international scored a goal and got an assist on his debut as Cardiff drew 2-2 with Leeds. Russell Westbrook wasn’t so pleased.

🎙️ There have been a lot of words and ink dedicated to Canada’s early elimination from the 2023 Women’s World Cup, but the best discussion you are going to here comes from three individuals who have lived the CanWNT grind of the past few years and that is former players and legends Amy Walsh, Rhian Wilkinson and Diana Matheson. They talked the state of the team, and Matheson’s Project8, on the Broadscast edition of the Footy Prime Podcast his week.

✍️ Liam Fraser has joined FC Dallas after maybe the most MLS trade of all MLS trades. Minnesota initally acquired the rights to the CanMNT midfielder (and DARBY Issue 0 cover star) for $50,000 from Toronto FC before flipping those rights for $100,000 to FC Dallas. Man like Lams is about to show a number of other MLS sides why they should have taken a chance on him. This is the revenge tour, book it.

🔴 Toronto FC sign forward Prince Owusu. The former former German youth international signed with TFC as a free agent. Prince has netted 10 goals in 34 appearances last season with SSV Jahn Regensburg. Would he solve TFC’s season? Likely not, as Toronto’s problem are far greater than a single signing but it is a potential step in the right direction. Hopefully.

CREDIT: Halifax Wanderers FC

⚓️ Doneil Henry is already the most entertaining player in the CPL. Big names means big personality, Don’s move to the CPL has been nothing but positive before he touched the ball. This time, they mic’d up the Canadian international during the match versus York United. Banter, persoanlity and wisdom has been expressed. You want to watch this, you won’t be disappointed.

🔵 Jonathan Sirois signs contract extension with CF Montréal. This is a no-brainer. Sirois put pen to paper on a three-year extension with MTL. He has started 21 games and earned 9 clean sheets in his first year in MLS. Sirois could be gunning as Canada’s #1.

🇳🇴 Jayden Nelson scored his first goal in Norway. This isn’t regular league game, Jayden’s goal was scored during a UEFA Champions League Qualifier match for Rosenberg. This is his first goal in a European competition. Jayden currently has 3 goals and 6 assists this season.

👕 PSG collaborates on a kit with G-Dragon’s PEACEMINUSONE versus Jeonkub Hyundai Motors. The French heavyweights collaborated kit is one a kind. The kit maintains PSG colours while highlighting the Korean style of PEACEMINUSONE. Not only is it a fire shirt, but a crossover of two cultures through the beautiful game. Lee Kang-In must be feeling good right now. Ici c’est Busan.

💎 Ajax release third kit for the 2023/24 season. If you live under a rock, you would still know what Ajax is about. The Amsterdam club’s third kit is inspired by “diamonds,” in reference to their scouting and player development. The club is a diamond factory, producing players that defined generations, such as Johan Cruyff, Marco Van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp, and Edgar Davids (to name a few).

CREDIT: Soccer Bible/Ajax Amsterdam

😞 The last Canadian hope, Vancouver Whitecaps faced Mexican heavyweights Tigres. This game was tight as the ‘Caps had a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game. However, André Pierre-Gignac pulls an insane overhead kick to equalise for the Mexican side. The game remains tied and goes into penalties where Vancouver loses 3-5 to Tigres. The Whitecaps played well but Tigres showed real quality and composure throughout the game. Unfortunate no Canadian teams will move on in the Leagues Cup. But Van City showed their worth.

🐎 Meanwhile in the CPL, business as usual. Cavalry FC hosted Forge FC, defeating the Hamilton club 3-0. Cavalry on fire right now. This game is their biggest triumph over Forge in CPL history. One goal in particular that stoodout was the opening goal. Incredible set-piece that we wish to see more among our Canadian MLS teams.

🏟️ On Saturday, one of the wildest matches of the CPL season so far played out in Ottawa, with Atlético Ottawa and York United battling to a 3-3 draw. It didn’t really help either team in the standings, but it sure did make for a fun 90 minutes of soccer.

0️⃣ Vancouver and Valour then battled it out at the bottom of the CPL table on Sunday, and you know what, we aren’t even gonna attach the highlights for this one because it ended 0-0 and y’all didn’t miss much.

⚽️ Make sure to check out the finale of the CPL weekend coming up on Monday afternoon between Pacific FC and the Halifax Wanderers. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. ET on Onesoccer.

CREDIT: Netflix

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Sammy Ssebaduka (@Sammy.Ssebaduka)

Sammy Ssebaduka is a baller for York University and Vaughan Azzuri in League1Ontario. He also stared at the TST Tournament, where his SLT FC side made a shock appearance in the final of the celebrity-filled event.

📚 What to read

The last book I read was My Turn by Johan Cruyff. Cruyff shares his insights about football, his coaching philosophy, and his legacy.

📺 What to watch

A show to watch if you haven’t yet is the documentary Neymar: The Perfect Chaos. It shows Neymar’s struggles and successes on and off the field. It gives you a look at the human he is and what led him to this point in his life and career. Watching the show definitely inspired me that nothing’s impossible when it comes to playing football.

🎧 What to listen to

If you follow the Premier League a lot you should listen to The Footballer’s Football Podcast with Premier League stars Callum Wilson and Michail Antonio who give fans a player’s perspective on Prem Football as well with debates and other discussions. It’s a joy to listen to their podcast on my way to training or free time.

✅ Who to follow

@sportsleaguescanada, for anyone in the community who wants to play competitive co-ed footy throughout summer,winter, fall, and spring there’s always events and tournaments going on at the hanger. Also stay tuned for next years TST tournament for 1 million dollars.