Vancouver Whitecaps say new signing Lucas Cavallini fully fits their profile on the field

Axel Schuster - Lucas Cavallini - Vancouver Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Lucas Cavallini has been coveted by the Vancouver Whitecaps for quite some time.

The Canadian striker was officially unveiled by the club on Monday, heading to Vancouver from Liga MX side Club Puebla for an undisclosed club-record transfer fee.

Cavallini was on the club's discovery list and had been linked to making the move to MLS last summer. The Whitecaps weren't able to get it over the line then, but they weren't prepared to give up on the player, who had signed a four-year deal with the Mexican club in June 2018.

Their determination finally paid off, and with the time now right, Cavallini is the man the Whitecaps are building their attack around for the foreseeable future.

"It has been tough work," Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster told the assembled media in Vancouver. "There has been a lot of weeks of negotiations. Forwards, sometimes backwards, but finally we found a good solution. The discussions with Lucas and his agents have not been a problem. That has been done very fast. It was about finding a solution with his club."

Schuster believes that Cavallini is the ideal profile for the kind of striker Vancouver need under head coach Marc Dos Santos, highlighting the defensive shift he puts into matches and his abilities in the "four cornerstones of mentality, work ethic, discipline, and team spirit" that they are looking for in every player.

"Something that is really important is that he not here because he is Canadian, he is here because he meets the profile," Schuster said. "He is our central striker and he is in the system that Marc likes most, in the 4-3-3, the striker at the top.

"The most important message should be that we are really clear with our philosophy. Really clear about what we want to be next season and what the badge is standing for."

Where Cavallini's signing leaves the Whitecaps' current main striker, Fredy Montero, remains to be seen. The Colombian still has a year to go on his deal in Vancouver, and the prospect of a Cavallini-Montero strike combo would certainly be a potentially mouth-watering one if Dos Santos decides to go down that particular formational route.

"That leaves [Montero] in a competition to work hard and to fight for the position," Schuster added. "It depends on the situation and it depends on all the players we get together. It's not a must that we only play with one striker. We should be flexible in that because sometimes another system is the better solution for the next opponent. But in the end, it leaves everybody competing hard for his position because there are no guarantees for anybody to play."

Cavallini's signing is a marked shift for the Whitecaps, a club who have never been big spenders in the league. With fellow traditional low-spending teams like Sporting Kansas City and San Jose Earthquakes also breaking club transfer records with multi-million dollar deals in the last week, is this a change of direction for Vancouver to compete with the big spenders around the league?

"There was one DP spot open when I arrived and we were absolutely convinced that we had to fill that with a No. 9 player who can help us to compete better next season," Schuster explained. "But it was not about spending money. It was about the right profile, the right player, and then to find a solution with the owners if we were able to do it.

"We are working on the best possible solutions and that is not always about money. To spend a lot of money is easy, but if you don't spend it in the right way, that will not help you."