Published: September 13, 10:23 a.m. ET
Updated: September 15, 12:58 p.m. ET
Sergio Córdova, Vancouver hardly knew ye.
Vancouver Whitecaps have not seen anywhere near the best from their winter Designated Player signing, and they’re not going to see any more of him.
As first reported by South American journalist César Luis Merlo and later confirmed by The Athletic’s MLS oracle Tom Bogert, the Whitecaps have sold the 26-year-old Venezuelan to Turkish club Alanyaspor. The deal is a permanent transfer and was completed before the Turkish Süper Lig transfer window closes on Friday. The Caps retain a sell-on clause.
“Over the past couple weeks, there’s been increased interest in Sergio from clubs abroad, which is credit to him,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director. “We received an offer from Alanyaspor that matched what we were looking for and it was also an opportunity that Sergio was interested in pursuing.
“We are thankful for his service at the club and wish Sergio all the best in the future.”
Córdova joined the Whitecaps this winter, with the team spending a US$2.2 million ($3 million CAD) transfer fee, another $300,000 in GAM, and their 2024 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick to acquire him. The hope and anticipation was that he would become a key player, a spearhead for Vanni Sartini’s attack, and a replacement for Canadian striker Lucas Cavallini, who left during the offseason for Mexico.
That simply did not materialize due to a combination of injury struggles and poor form. He started just nine games and it took him until mid-July to score his first goal in Canada.
His form had improved noticeably in recent weeks — he netted in three straight games earlier this summer — but his impact at BC Place was still significantly lacking, particularly given his status as a DP and a high earner. In total, he has just two goals and one assist to his name from 19 MLS games, as well as another two goals in this summer’s Leagues Cup. It hasn’t been good enough, given the Whitecaps’ aspirations of a deep playoff run.
In the absence of any consistent contributions from Córdova, American striker Brian White is having the best season of his career, having netted 14 goals in all competitions and struck a profitable partnership with Ryan Gauld.
Related read: Ryan Gauld: The ‘Scottish Messi’ whose MVP-calibre form is driving the Vancouver Whitecaps’ playoff charge
Now, the Whitecaps have cut their losses, selling Córdova to Turkey in a move which recoups a transfer fee and open up a DP spot. In Vancouver, Córdova was on a DP deal through 2025, with an option for 2026, that earned him $1,050,568 per year, per MLS’s official salary statistics.
Per Transfermarkt’s Canadian expert Manuel Veth, the Whitecaps will make back their initial transfer fee through a sale fee of USD $1.9 million and easy-to-reach add-ons and also have a 20 percent sell-on clause, although there’s no recovering the $300,000 in GAM or the 2024 first-round draft pick that they lost in the signing.
As for who will occupy the soon-to-be-vacant DP spot come the start of next season… Well, the Whitecaps reportedly intend to turn Canadian star Richie Laryea’s loan deal into a permanent DP transfer this winter.
Plus, on Thursday, they added veteran Canadian international Junior Hoilett to their ranks as they continue stocking up on CanMNT stars for the playoff push ahead.
So this all fits together pretty nicely, at face value.