Chris Cadden is likely to depart the Columbus Crew after just one full season in Major League Soccer. Reports from the Scottish Sun and more recently the Edinburgh News have indicated that the versatile Columbus the right back will head back to the United Kingdom, specifically to Scottish Premier League side, Hibernian.
On Tuesday morning, Edinburgh Sport reporter Moira Gordon followed up her previous report that Cadden has agreed to terms and completed his medical with Hibernia. While no official announcement came from the Crew or Hibernian, Gordon reported that the deal is “taking longer than anticipated” but stuck with the initial reporting.
While Massive Report could not get confirmation that Cadden is headed back to Scottland, sources did confirm that the defender is likely to depart the team this offseason. Cadden, 24, is looking for more playing time, something he is not likely to get with the Black & Gold.
Cadden originally signed with the Crew on a free transfer after his contract with Motherwell expired in the summer of 2019. He went on loan to English third division side Oxford United for the remainder of the 2019 season due to a lack of roster space before joining the Black & Gold during the 2020 preseason.
The right back played sparingly during the abbreviated 2020 season, managing just eight regular season appearances, including three starts. Cadden made one playoff appearance, a four-minute cameo against Nashville SC before he landed on the team’s not medically cleared to play list.
Originally thought of as a potential successor to Harrison Afful at right back for the Crew, Cadden struggled to perform at the level required of a high-end MLS fullback. Despite being 34, Afful made 21 regular season appearances in 2020, 20 starts, despite inconsistent play. A backup for Afful who could eventually replace the Ghianan on a full-time basis would become of increased importance for the Black & Gold this offseason if/when Cadden is to depart.
Cadden’s move to the United States encountered controversy as his prior club, Motherwell, claimed significant training compensation from his time in their academy. Early in 2019, MLS began recognizing the FIFA instituted compensation schemes. At the time of the signing, FIFA had not assigned MLS a tier and the league defaulted to the lowest, Tier 4, allowing minimal compensation. Motherwell requested up to $350,000 in compensation, the equivalent that MLS would pay as a Tier 1 league.
Hibernian currently sits in fourth place in the Scottish Premier League, 26 points behind league leader Rangers, and is looking to augment their squad as they juggle cup and league duties. The Crew is tentatively scheduled to open preseason later this month with the team preparing for the CONCACAF Champions League, which is expected to start in February.