The Vancouver Whitecaps underwent a transitional offseason in 2019, adding 14 new acquisitions in Axel Schuster's first offseason as sporting director.
Club-record signing Lucas Cavallini headlined the spending spree, while regular starters Ranko Veselinovic, Leonard Owusu, Janio Bikel and others followed. Vancouver failed to make the playoffs in 2020, but the front office saw plenty of encouraging signs to embolden their belief in the roster as a whole, with just a few key tweaks.
“We feel comfortable with the majority of our squad, we believe with this squad we can make the next steps," Schuster told media on a virtual press conference. "I spoke about that already and we see the need to add a few pieces as well. We will do that.”
The key addition the club are circling is adding an attacking midfielder as a Designated Player, something Schuster hasn't been shy in speaking often about. There were no updates on that search.
“This season we put high pressure on this because we want to invest in DP," Schuster said. "We have a big chance to add quality to the existing squad. But you can make big mistakes in recruitment, it’s a complicated process. … We are better prepared for the difficulties, we have a good group of people working in our scouting department.”
Montero, who will turn 34 next summer, enjoyed a strong end to the season after being seldom-used early in the year. He ended with five goals and five assists in 1,059 minutes, his best return by way of goal contributions per 90 minutes since returning to MLS in 2017.
“I spoke to his agent about that, we are working on that," Schuster said of a new deal. "Our first idea of a new contract was not exactly the same idea as his agent, but that’s part of negotiations. Communication is very open. We had a very good chat, we’re still working.”