The Vancouver Whitecaps held off on filling their defensive midfield spot earlier because they were '100% convinced' Andres Cubas could be a 'difference-maker'
The 25-year-old arrived from French Ligue 2 club Nimes for a reported $3m on Thursday helping plug a significant gap in the Whitecaps' roster.
Cubas tops the charts in the French second tier for combined tackles and interceptions this season, has experience in Ligue 1 and is a product of the esteemed Boca Juniors youth system. The Whitecaps had identified their man and were willing to wait for the right time to swoop.
“We could have filled this position earlier with just another signing, but we were really high on him as a difference-maker in his position like Ryan Gauld was at his," Whitecaps CEO and sporting director Axel Schuster told reporters on Thursday. "He’s at an age where he’s happy to come here for many years, it’s not a player we signed with the expectation to sell him again to someone who gives us more dollars. He should be one of our main guys for years to help us grow and win something.”
Cubas has signed a deal through June 2026 and fills the Whitecaps' third and final Designated Player spot. As such, there will be a high level of expectation on the Paraguay international to perform, but Vancouver have more than done their due diligence and are confident in the midfielder's ability and pedigree.
“It was a position of need and he’s the profile we were looking for. We identified him in December last year. He’s someone who is very good in tackles and (shielding) the defense. He was one of the guys who had the highest successful tackles in all leagues he played, including Ligue 1 last year," Schuster said.
He continued: “We would have signed him in December, but his club were competing to not get relegated or maybe get promoted. It wasn’t possible to convince them to let the player go. … We wanted to fix it with a player that we’re 100% convinced that is not just a little bit of an improvement, but someone who can really make a difference.”
At the time of Cubas' arrival, the Whitecaps have slipped to the bottom of the Western Conference standings with just one win from their first eight games of the 2022 MLS season.
Up next is a home clash with fellow Canadian side Toronto FC on Sunday.