Columbus Crew acquires Kekuta Manneh from Vancouver Whitecaps

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A blockbuster trade came down on Thursday as Columbus snatched Kekuta Manneh from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Crew sent back longtime Columbus midfielder Tony Tchani plus $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money.

Columbus is already tops in the Eastern Conference four matches into the season, with seven goals scored, the third-most in Major League Soccer. Still, they felt the opportunity to acquire the 22-year-old Ghanan was too good to pass up.

Manneh joined Vancouver in 2013 via the MLS SuperDraft as a Generation Adidas player. He was selected fourth overall by the Whitecaps, and has since made 101 league appearances, scoring 22 goals and assisting 12 more.

“We take pride in our identity as an attacking team, so we are excited to announce the addition of Kekuta Manneh, one of the most dynamic, young, offensive players in Major League Soccer and a new addition to the US Soccer national team program,” said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter in a team statement. “Kekuta complements the existing corps of attacking players on our roster and we expect him to play an important role with the club this season.”

Manneh joins a Crew attack headed by Ola Kamara, who owns three goals already this season, plus the creative forces of Federico Higuain and U.S. international Ethan Finlay.

Going the other way is two-way midfielder Tchani, who has been with the Crew since 2011, amassing 130 appearances for the club. Tchani penned a goodbye posted on social media, which read, “It was an incredible journey of ups and downs and I want to say THANK YOU to the Columbus Crew organization, fans, friends, and family (Amazazi, AJ and Weis) that I made over my last 5 years plus here.”