Whitecaps interested in acquiring Italian soccer legend Chiellini: report

May 10 2022, 10:13 pm

The Vancouver Whitecaps are reportedly chasing one of the biggest names in Italian soccer.

Giorgio Chiellini, who captains Italy’s national team, as well as Juventus, is looking to leave his home country to join a team in Major League Soccer, according to Sky Sports Italia. It means the 37-year-old centre back could begin to play in North America by this summer.

The Whitecaps, believe it or not, are said to be interested in acquiring Chiellini, according to a report inĀ The Athletic.

The Whitecaps would have to acquire the MLS discovery rights to Chiellini from LAFC before they could sign him, Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio report. LAFC has reportedly offered Chiellini a contract that would pay him no more than $1.65 million next season though, which seems low for the Italian based on name recognition alone.

Chiellini’s best days are behind him, but he did just captain Italy to the European championship last year.

No player the Whitecaps have acquired since entering MLS in 2011 comes close to matching the fame of Chiellini, who has appeared in 116 international matches with Italy — fifth-most in his country’s history. Chiellini has been with Juventus since 2004, winning the Serie A title nine times.

Perhaps the Whitecaps are willing to spend the money necessary to lure Chiellini to the west coast, or perhaps their Italian head coach Vanni Sartini is a great recruiter.

In any event, the Whitecaps could use an upgrade at centre back, and Chiellini represents an upgrade. Despite beating Toronto FC on Saturday, Vancouver is currently at the bottom of the MLS standings, with just two wins and one draw in nine matches.

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