Alphonso Davies, the 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder, is heading to the German soccer club Bayern Munich, multiple media reports say.
Coach Carl Robinson said it would be wrong for the club to stop the rising star — who was not at training on Tuesday — from developing his career and talents abroad.
“Did we want to sell him? No. Because he’s a big success on the field,” Robinson said after training. “But you can’t be selfish at this moment because we’ve got a wonderful talent on our hands for me at the club level and even at the international level.”
The deal is not official just yet, though.
“Nothing is final yet, but it’s looking good,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday in Philadelphia, where the team faces Juventus in a friendly on Wednesday night.
“He is a big talent, he’s young and very fast.”
TSN has reported transfer fees could reach as high as US$20 million with bonuses, an amount that would shatter the record price fetched by an Major League Soccer player.
The current record was set in 2008, when Spanish club Villarreal spent $10 million to acquire then-18-year-old striker Jozy Altidore from the New York Red Bulls.
Davies has eight assists and three goals in 20 games with the Whitecaps this season, his third with the team. He’s also scheduled to play in the MLS all-star game next month.
“He’s ready to go and develop,” Robinson said. “He’s at this age at the moment. I call him a sponge — he’s willing to take so much information on board. And you’ve got to let him do that.”
Davies joined the Whitecaps’ residency program in 2015. He was scouted from Edmonton, where his family settled after emigrating to Canada from a refugee camp in Ghana. He was born in the refugee camp in 2000, after his parents fled the Liberian civil war.
Robinson said many coaches and staff members have contributed to Davies’ development.
“It’s not easy to find players at the best of times, but to find a player, coach a player, develop a player and teach a player and then sell a player at that value that we think he’s going to go for is an incredible feat,” he said.
“And I’m sure every MLS team will be envious and want to find the next Alphonso Davies.”
The coach said he knows Davies will be supported in every aspect of his life and surrounded by the top talent in the world. But that doesn’t mean that watching him go will be easy.
“I’m happy. I’m disappointed because I’m losing one of my boys,” Robinson said. “But it’s the right thing to do.”
- With files from The Canadian Press