The Whitecaps announced they had acquired midfielder/forward Bernie Ibini-Isei from Belgian Pro League team Club Brugge KV on Tuesday. The 24-year-old Australian was on loan at A-League team Sydney FC, where he scored 3 goals in 20 games. Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said Ibini was signed with the intention to play as a number 9, either in place of, or alongside Fredy Montero. The striker/winger takes up a spot in the roster left vacant by the departure of Kekuta Manneh earlier this season. Montero is the only healthy striker on the roster at this time, with both backups Kyle Greig and Erik Hurtado out with injuries.
Bernie is described as a big and quick type player who can score with either foot. It is worth nothing that Ibini did suffer a serious leg break that put him out for an entire season in 2015/2016. He also missed the final game of Sydney FC’s season due to a hamstring tear. Despite this, the signing should inspire some confidence in Whitecaps fans, especially after a number of decent performances in the last few games. Ibini may have some injury problems, but he sounds like an adequate replacement for Kekuta Manneh, and reportedly used up money received from that transfer. This means the team essentially aquired both Ibini and Tony Tchani in exchange for Manneh, who has yet to make any contribution in his new Columbus Crew enviroment.