There could be a tug-of-war brewing over longtime English Premier League midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, according to a report on Thursday at Prost Amerika.
The Whitecaps have designs on adding the 28-year-old central midfielder to their squad, according to the report, and MLS confirmed on Friday that negotiations for the player are ongoing at a league level.
The rub, however, is that Portland have the first Discovery claim on Reo-Coker, meaning that should a contract be agreed to, the 'Caps would have to trade for his rights. Vancouver reportedly set a midday Friday deadline – which has already passed – for a deal to get done.
“Vancouver have been above and beyond patient," Reo-Coker's agent, Richard Trafford, told Prost Amerika. "MLS are fully aware of this. I personally think rule changes should be implemented as soon as possible to stop this happening again. Nigel wants to become a Whitecaps player.”
Reo-Coker has spent the past dozen seasons in the top two flights of English soccer, playing more than 300 combined games in the Premier League and the Championship. He also was capped 23 times for the England U-23s between 2003 and 2007.
Most recently, he was with Ipswich Town of the Championship on a short-term contract. He did not re-sign with the Tractor Boys, which leaves him as a free agent – and not subject to the European transfer window, which closed at the end of January.
A Whitecaps spokesperson revealed that there were talks ongoing between the various parties, commenting, "We have had discussions with Portland, MLS, and Ree-Coker. If there is something to announce, we will do so."
A spokesperson for Portland confirmed that the club holds the first Discovery claim on Reo-Coker, but would neither confirm nor deny any trade or deadline talks.