'Football is football': How Caicedo fits the 'Caps attacking puzzle

The 'Caps unveiled their first signing of the calendar year on Tuesday, inking explosive winger Déiber Caicedo as the latest addition to the club's attacking corps.

Marc Dos Santos spoke on how he sees the 20-year old Colombian fitting in with what Whitecaps FC are building.

"We see him playing on the right or the left side, he is a winger that could play in a 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3," the 'Caps head coach said. "He is comfortable both on the left and the right side, he is a player that even at the youth national team level, also played underneath at the forward. So any of those positions – behind the forward, you can see Deiber play."

Caicedo shared some of his conversations with Dos Santos prior to putting pen to paper, and brought up his inside play as a dimension he will be adding to the attack, especially when playing in front of fullbacks Ali Adnan, Cristián Gutiérrez, and Jake Nerwinski.

"(Dos Santos) really likes how I play, in particular in the interior. One-on-one is one of my greatest strengths," said Caicedo.

"He has tools that are very aggressive as a player, he is quick, he is fast, he likes to take players one-v-one," Dos Santos explained. "He likes to play inside a lot so that can be interesting when our fullback has a very offensive type of mindset, a fullback that likes to join the attack so you can see that in those pockets."

There is also the natural chemistry that comes with lining up alongside players who speak your language, including fellow Colombian native Cristian Dájome.

"We analyze that. If Deiber is going to be in this position, who's going to be around him? What are the small interactions and communication between the lines?," said Dos Santos. "Not only Dájome, but Érik (Godoy), Guti, (Lucas) Cavallini - having them around helps with the integration of a player like Deiber." 

"I’ve spoken to Cristian lots. Although I didn't have the pleasure of playing with him, I certainly have played against him in the past," said Caicedo. "He's told me about how great the quality of life is in Vancouver which is very important to me. Also, how much the club supports him and would support me. That gives me a great sense of calm and tranquility with the move."

It was a process that took a bit longer than normal - CEO and sporting director Axel Schuster disclosed that Caicedo's name first came into their radar around October. 

Then after they did their scouting and agreed that he fit the profile they had defined, the process was extended as they had to fly Caicedo into Mexico for his medical.

But in the end, the 'Caps crossed off the first item in their offseason shopping list.

"We feel very comfortable because he checks every box from every single department - performance department, stats department, our scouts, and then also our personal impression," said Schuster. "It was a long process. But we were very convinced about his profile from the very first day." 

"I certainly recognize that the football is quite physical, but in the end, football is football and I know that I can play," said Caicedo.