Bustos: ‘It’s Between Valour and Pacific’
Over the last month, the Marco Bustos transfer saga has become one of the key focal points of the Canadian Premier League offseason, and with good reason: the 23-year-old midfielder was the last league signing of the spring transfer window, with the former Whitecaps player then going on to establish himself as one of the league’s best goalscoring wingers.
The Winnipeg-born playmaker finished the season with 27 appearances, eight goals, and three assists for Valour FC across all competitions, finishing as the Winnipeg-based club’s top goalscorer in league action. Amid rumours of locker room difficulties, Valour FC has already lost out on midfielders Louis Beland-Goyette and Michael Petrasso. If Bustos departs in the next few days, he’d be Valour’s third outbound midfielder in just as many weeks, which puts Rob Gale in a tough spot.
Speaking with Ryan Brandt of the CPL Editorial team, Bustos cleared the air regarding his decision on where he may end up next: It’s between staying with Valour or going to Pacific FC, meaning that Forge FC – who were also in the midst of the rumours following the sale of Tristan Borges – are officially out of the running. FC Edmonton, who had reportedly submitted an offer earlier along, had been categorically ruled out by Rob Gale earlier this month.
It’s a tough decision. It’s between Valour and Pacific. It’s tough for me, taking the pros and cons of both. Whether it’s ‘what am I going to get out of Pacific’, ‘what am I going to get out of Valour.’ [I] just to kind of try to break everything down and speak with my family. Nobody can tell the future. If I could tell the future I probably wouldn’t be playing soccer – I’d be making a million dollars somewhere else.Marco BUstos
While Bustos was quick to acknowledge that Valour FC had allowed him to prove himself last season and that he appreciates the faith given in him by Rob Gale, the former Vancouver Whitecaps player admits that the draw of playing under one of his old mentors in Pa-Modou Kah is a significant one. On the other hand, he says, Rob Gale helped him break into the national team system, and that hasn’t been forgotten, either.
According to independent journalist Thomas Nef, Bustos has decided to make the jump to Pacific FC, though his chats with Ryan Brandt seemed as if the choice is still to be made. Whatever happens, Bustos wants to clock in as many minutes as he can this year and use that as a springboard to make the jump to a higher level in 2021, akin to Joel Waterman signing for the Montreal Impact this offseason.
I kind of have to choose with my gut and know they’re both great you know Valour did great things for me. Coming here was the best thing for me, for my development. Get a good solid season in playing consistently at a high level. Now I have to think more about what’s going to help me get to the next level. So, my dream and aspiration that I have is to get to Europe or back into MLS. So, whatever whatever situation is going to make it better for me, or that I believe that will get me to the next level that’s kind of where I’m leaning towards. So I haven’t made an ultimate decision yet but there will be one soon.Marco Bustos
Wherever he lands next season, Bustos has set ambitious heights for himself: he wants to break into the double digits for goals and assists. While it took Bustos some time to find his goalscoring form throughout the spring season, it’s fair to say that if he hits the ground running in 2020 the odds would be in his favour.
In the interim, Rob Gale has been keeping himself busy scouting for new players to help Valour FC improve on its fifth-place finish in the fall, which saw the side concede a league-high 37 goals in 18 games. He’s brought in Haitian international Andrew Jean-Baptiste to help shore up defense, and more recently signed former Rangers man Fraser Aird to help bolster his wing. With utility player Daryl Fordyce also inbound, he’ll have some versatility to his options, too.
Meanwhile, Pacific FC has also brought in two former Ottawa Fury men in Jamar Dixon and Thomas Meilleur-Giguere. Many of the clubs youngsters have re-signed, but the future of Ben Fisk remains uncertain and may ultimately depend on if Bustos joins. The future is still unclear on veteran striker Marcus Haber, while Issey Nakajima-Farran appears set to conclude a well-traveled pro career: he’s joined a team in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League, and while he says he’s open to opportunities if a pro club reaches out to him, the 35-year-old Canadian international appears set to draw the curtain on a fascinating career.
It’s been speculated that Bustos will become the highest-paid player in the league wherever he goes, so he’ll have a lot of expectations to live up to – but he’s certainly a midfielder that any CPL side would benefit from having on their roster.
Source: Canadian Premier League