Since making his Vancouver Whitecaps debut on March 30, Ali Adnan has been an integral part of Marc Dos Santos’ rebuild north of the border.
After five matches, early returns on Adnan’s acquisition have been solid. There’s only one problem: He’s not supposed to be here much longer. Adnan’s loan from Serie A side Udinese is due to expire on June 30.
“I would love to have him long-term with the club,” head coach Marc Dos Santos said after training Tuesday. “I don’t know yet, we’ll have to see what’s going to happen. We have to time things well, it’s not really the time to talk about it. The only thing I can guarantee is we’ll do everything we can to keep a player like him.”
The feeling is mutual, as Adnan has enjoyed his time in Vancouver, but doesn’t have much to say about his future because it’s too early.
“I don’t know really, but I like so much here,” Adnan said. “The players, the staff, the city is amazing. I don’t know, really I don’t know. We have time to talk about this, we don’t know what will happen in three months. Let’s see.”
Dos Santos has been on the record multiple times calling Adnan the best left back in the league.
Adnan is second among all defenders in dribbles completed per 90 minutes (2.2) and fourth in duels won (8.8), per Opta (min. 300 minutes). He covers enough ground to give Dos Santos tactical flexibility as well. The club has deployed Inbeom Hwang as an inverted winger of sorts on more than one occasion, tasking Adnan with covering the entire left flank.
The Iraqi international has stepped up to the challenge each time.
“It’s really nice, but it’s not enough,” Adnan said of Dos Santos’ assertion that he’s the top left back in the league. “We’re not winning. It’s not important [to be called the best left back in the league], but it’s important to get three points for Vancouver.”
The Western Conference side will seek their second win of the season on Saturday when hosting the Philadelphia Union (5 pm ET | TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US).
“I think we’re doing well now,” Adnan said. “We’ve started to get better, we have to win at home. I hope we get the three points this week.”