Marc Dos Santos - Vancouver Whitecaps - press conference
Courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Marc Dos Santos on Whitecaps rebuild: It looks ugly, but we have a plan

After a coaching change and MLS record outgoing transfer fee, this offseason was always going to usher in a new era in Vancouver, but the Whitecaps are in the process of a massive overhaul since Marc Dos Santos took over as head coach. 

Next season, the Whitecaps will be without six of their top seven goal scorers from 2018, including their captain. Dos Santos understands that everything may look "ugly" but the decisions have not been done without a greater plan. 

"It looks ugly right now, because there was so much change and movement, but I can reassure you this is done with a plan, a vision and not looking at the short term," Dos Santos told Sportsnet 650. "It's looking to build something solid. For that, you need to suffer a little bit in the beginning to stick to where we're going in our direction."

The Whitecaps have cleared a ton of cap space by declining options on Brek Shea and Aly Ghazal, allowing Kei Kamara's contract to expire and trading wantaway captain Kendall Waston. Replacing the Costa Rican star won't be the easiest task, though Dos Santos wants no part of players with minds elsewhere. 

"It was a situation where the player publicly what he wanted and how he felt about the future," Dos Santos said. "We would never want to keep a player that is thinking about other places than the Vancouver Whitecaps. We want to make sure the guys who are here are the guys committed to the club."

They ended up dealing the player to FC Cincinnati for $750,000 total allocation money and an international roster spot. With that, the money cleared from the contracts declined as well as the allocation money earned from Alphonso Davies' move to Bayern Munich, the Whitecaps have international roster and Designated Player slots to fill with a bundle of allocation money to spend.

As such, Dos Santos says he and his staff are like an "octopus," scouting in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and elsewhere. 

"We're looking at center backs, defensive midfielders, a No. 8, wingers and different options for striker," Dos Santos said about his Whitecaps' wishlist this holiday season. "There's a lot of interest for players, a lot of different markets. There's a lot of things happening."

The scouting and recruitment is well underway as the club have already brought in Zac Macmath, PC, Maxime Crepeau and Andy Rose. But Dos Santos' first goal is changing the culture around the club, making the Whitecaps more of a destination than it has been. 

"We have to make sure this a club where players feel welcome, where players want to stay, want to grow at," Dos Santos said. "Every time you're talking with players the economical side is important, sometimes you have players who want to grow and have better opportunities, but we have to make this a club where players are excited to be. A club where players want to stay."