It's been a long search, but the Vancouver Whitecaps hope that they have finally found the new Designated Player striker that they were eagerly looking for with the addition of Colombian attacker Fredy Montero.
Having previously spent four seasons in the league with Seattle, Montero has a proven track record in MLS, grabbing 47 goals and 36 assists in 129 MLS regular season and postseason appearances for the Sounders.
Much of his time there was spent as a second striker and not the primary target up front, but Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson has made it clear that he sees Montero as the man to lead his side's attack.
"The plan of ours is to try and bring in the right combinations," Robinson told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday afternoon. "Fredy is such a good, talented player that he can play as the 9, as the 10, and as the drifting player inside as well. Predominantly the plan is to bring him in as a No. 9 and complement the other players we have."
Montero heads to Vancouver on a one-year loan from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda, and although the Whitecaps will have an option on the Colombian for his MLS rights after this season, no permanent transfer fee has been built in to the deal.
In return, the 'Caps gave up $100,000 in General Allocation Money in 2018, $125,000 in Targeted Allocation Money in 2018, and an international roster spot through 2017 to Minnesota United for their number one spot in the Allocation Ranking order. A lot to give up for a player on loan? Robinson feels it was worth the risk.
"We had to make a decision in the short term what we thought was right for us to get a center forward now," Robinson said. "As soon as Fredy Montero was coming back to the league, we had to make sure we did everything we could to try and bring him to our football club. Sometimes you overpay, sometimes you underpay. The right thing to do was to give up future assets, which we did, because we need a goalscorer now."
Describing Montero as a "proven goalscorer" still very much in his prime, Montero's creative play was also a key factor in adding the 29-year-old to Robinson's squad.
"Fredy likes to create goals, he's very unselfish," Robinson said. "But he likes to score goals as well and that's what attracted me to him. He's a good all round team player and he likes to make everyone around him better, which is key. He's not just a selfish goal scorer, which sometimes you need and sometimes people can be."
With Robinson continuing to favor a 4-2-3-1 formation, the initial plan looks to be to have Montero play up top with fellow new addition Yordy Reyna slotting in behind him, and Robinson is excited to see what the Colombian can produce in a partnership with the Peruvian playmaker.
"We do play with a 9 and a 10," Robinson said. "Yordy's a different type of No. 10 forward to what Pedro Morales was, who was a more deep-lying 10. The two of them can hopefully have an understanding and work together very well."