Whitecaps acquire centre-back Jose Aja from Orlando City

Orlando City's Jose Aja (4) and Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco (10) vie for the ball during an MLS soccer match Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Orlando, Fla (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

The Vancouver Whitecaps acquired centre-back Jose Aja from Orlando City in exchange for $125,000 in targeted allocation money, the club announced on Saturday.

Orlando City will receive an additional $100,000 in targeted allocation if Aja is still on Vancouver’s roster next season, and the Whitecaps’ 2021 second-round draft pick if Aja remains with the club until 2020. Orlando also owns a percentage of any future transfer fee if Aja is sold abroad.

Aja, 24, arrived to MLS from Uruguayan side Racing Club de Montevideo in 2016. He made 25 appearances, 24 of them starts, for Orlando over the past two seasons.

“José is a player who I first identified while scouting Cristian Techera in Uruguay three years ago,” said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. “He’s a big lad who is very comfortable on the ball. He will add another dimension to the group and complement our backline well, and he understands the league now after playing in MLS for 18 months. We’re excited to welcome him to our team and continue to help him grow to his full potential.”

While one defender is arriving, another might be leaving Vancouver in the near future. Tim Parker reportedly requested a trade after a contract dispute with the Whitecaps. Parker’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2018 campaign. The New York Red Bulls could be a possible destination for the American centre-back, according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post.

The Whitecaps open their MLS season at home against the Montreal Impact on March 4.


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