Whitecaps trade Kekuta Manneh to Columbus for Tony Tchani

Mar 30 2017, 8:07 pm

The Vancouver Whitecaps have pulled the trigger on a significant trade, dealing winger/forward Kekuta Manneh to the Columbus Crew. In exchange, the Whitecaps will receive central midfielder Tony Tchani, $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, and $75,000 in General Allocation Money.

Because nothing is ever simple in MLS, there are a few stipulations on the trade that could work out in Vancouver’s favour.

If Columbus re-signs Manneh, who is in the last year of his contract, the Whitecaps will receive their first round pick in the next MLS SuperDraft. The ‘Caps will also receive additional General Allocation Money if Manneh is traded by Columbus before December 31, 2018 and Vancouver will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if Manneh is transferred outside of MLS.

Manneh is a talented player, who appeared to fall out of favour with head coach Carl Robinson for indifferent play.

In 101 MLS regular season appearances with the Whitecaps, Manneh scored 22 goals and added 12 assists.

“We are thankful to Kekuta for his contributions to this club over his four plus years,” said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson in a media release. “He is a good kid and a talented player who had some special moments in Vancouver, and we wish him all the best.”

Coming to Vancouver after being selected by the Whitecaps fourth overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Manneh never seemed to live up to the hype. The 22-year-old still has a lot to prove.

In Tchani, the Whitecaps get a 6-foot-4, 185-pound experienced central midfielder who fills a need.

“We have acquired an experienced, athletic, box-to-box player in Tony, who will help solidify our midfield,” Robinson said. “Tony is someone I enjoyed working with during my time in New York and I’m excited to have him join our group. In addition, the allocation money provides further opportunity to strengthen our roster and depending on what’s next for Kekuta, there is also the potential of additional returns.”

Tchani is a 27-year-old from Cameroon who has spent the past seven seasons in MLS with New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, and Columbus Crew SC. It was with New York in 2010-2011 that Robinson, who was a player/assistant coach for the Red Bulls at the time, got to know Tchani.

Tchani’s best season statistically came in 2015 when he recorded five goals and six assists, helping Columbus reach the MLS Cup Final. He also completed 1403 successful passes that season, the fifth-highest in MLS.

In 86 appearances with Columbus in the past three seasons, Tchani has started in 85 of them. In 172 MLS regular season matches, Tchani has recorded 10 goals and 21 assists. Though he plays internationally for Cameroon, Tchani has US citizenship and will count as a domestic player.