One of the most electrifying (if not frustrating and short-on-end-product) players to ever come through MLS has spurned a future MLS, in favor of a move south of the United States-Mexico border.
22-year-old Kekuta Manneh, who was drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013 at the age of 18 before being traded to Columbus Crew SC in March of this year, has signed with Liga MX side Pachuca on a free transfer, the club announced on Tuesday.
Born in The Gambia and moved to Texas at the age of 15, Manneh became an American citizen during his time in Vancouver (he maintained residency this side of the U.S.-Canada border his entire time with the team in order to do so), and was subsequently called in this year’s January camp without appearing in the post-camp friendlies.
Crew SC’s move to acquire Manneh, which cost them midfielder Tony Tchani and $300,000 in combined allocation money, netter the (perhaps) Austin, Tex.,-bound team four goals and three assists before losing the player without receiving a single dollar in transfer fees. Columbus will, however, retain Manneh’s MLS rights.
It’s been a solid 24 months since we’ve seen anything resembling Manneh’s best, let alone the potential pinned on him early in his career. The blazing speed he possesses in the open field has rarely been harnessed and used to produce the kind of end product that many thought could eventually make him an elite attacker in MLS and set him on his way for a move to Europe.