VANCOUVER, B.C. — Is Owen Hargreaves on his way to Vancouver? Whitecaps FC co-owner Jeff Mallett fanned the flames himself on Monday when told The Globe and Mail that the club is attempting to sign the Canadian-born former England international, and 'Caps players seemed excited by the possibility at practice on Tuesday.
“He’s had an unfortunate career with his injuries, but I think he’d bring that work rate and warrior mentality in the middle that any team can benefit from,” midfielder Jeb Brovsky told MLSsoccer.com at training on Tuesday. “He’s got the experience from Europe that if he ever came over here. … He’d be another guy to learn from.”
The Calgary-born Hargreaves is a free agent following an injury-plagued four seasons with English giants Manchester United, during which he played only 27 league games. For a young Vancouver team filled with many rookies, bringing in a player who has won the UEFA Champions League, the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga four times would be a massive injection of top-flight experience.
“All of us young guys can take whatever we can from the older guys,” Brovsky continued. “The Joe Cannons, [John] Thorringtons, all those guys who have been in this league we can learn from, and now we’re trying to learn from guys coming in from other leagues. I think if we can get that hybrid of information coming into us as young players, then we can learn not only what it takes to be successful in this league, but in the world.”
With captain Jay DeMerit struggling for fitness throughout much of this season with a recurring adductor injury, the team has lacked a vocal leader to guide the team through the grueling Major League Soccer schedule.
“[The club is] looking for a little bit of bite in midfield,” veteran goalkeeper Cannon explained. “With [Hargreaves’] pedigree, that’s what he would bring. There are games, where you look at us, and people don’t understand why we only have two wins. With Jay being hurt, we really miss a voice out there.”
Despite Mallett making the club’s intentions public, head coach Tom Soehn said the English international is just “one of many” players on the club’s radar.
“We’re looking at a ton of guys, so in the spectrum of things, you have a lot of guys on your list and you go through all of them,” Soehn said. “You make sure you leave no rocks unturned and he’s one of many we’re looking at.”