Here’s how Vancouver Whitecaps FC coach Martin Rennie spent the holidays in his native Scotland: He watched more than a few Scottish Premier League games, including the Old Firm derby between Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers, and popped down to England to take in a number of English Premier League and English League Championship matches.
Yes, in between time with family, Rennie scouted, but he declined to say which English matches he took in for fear of fueling speculation about potential signings.
“We’re looking at defensive positions and defensive midfield-type players,” Rennie told MLSsoccer.com over the weekend. “Guys who can win the ball back, players who are athletic and aggressive, tall and strong kind of players - we need a couple more of them. We’ve got some good creativity and good quality going forward, but we definitely need to work on getting hard to beat and getting hard to play against.”
While Rennie was coy on potential transfer targets, he ruled out the signing of Chilean left fullback Miguel Aceval, who is rumored to be joining a Canadian MLS club in the near future.
Whitecaps FC have only six recognized defenders on the books, meaning Vancouver’s defensive third will inevitably see further additions.
“When you work on recruitment, it’s one step forward, two steps back sometimes, or two steps forward, one step back,” Rennie said. “But I feel like we’re making really good progress on identifying the type of players we want to get. I think by the time preseason comes around, we’ll be in a much stronger position than we were at the end of last season."
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Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.