Published: January 5, 3:25 p.m. ET
Updated: January 9, 11:26 a.m. ET

It feels like Richie Laryea only just swapped the shores of Lake Ontario for British Columbia, but he might not hanging around out west.

As reported by J.J. Adams of The Province, the Canadian men’s national team full-back is unlikely to return to the Vancouver Whitecaps for 2024.

Laryea moved to BC Place on loan from English Premier League club Nottingham Forest on the MLS summer transfer window’s deadline day after his previous loan spell at hometown club Toronto FC expired. He played a significant role for Vanni Sartini’s side after joining in August, starting every single one of the Caps’ final 12 games of the regular season and both games of the ill-fated MLS Cup Playoffs series against LAFC.

Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster has previously suggested that the club would have liked to work out a permanent deal for Laryea in the summer but ran out of time amid the constraints of the transfer window. Schuster added back in the fall that while the summer reports that an agreement was already in place for a winter permanent transfer were incorrect, he wanted to keep Laryea at the club and was reportedly willing to make Laryea a Designated Player for 2024.

Even Laryea himself seemed keen to stay at face value.

He said in November that his time in Vancouver has “been really good… I’ve also enjoyed myself, and my family has enjoyed it, so this would definitely be a place that’d be good for us moving forward.”

However, it now sounds as though he will not be wearing the white and blue this year.

Per Adams, Schuster confirmed the chances of Laryea returning are very slim.

As reported by The Athletic’s Tom Bogert, MLS rules around free agents don’t allow Laryea to be a DP. The Canadian is Laryea technically listed as a free agent by the league, despite being under contract at Forest. Consequently, he is subjected to MLS free-agency rules which limits a salary offer to max of $1.76 million USD.

“The maximum amount that Richie can cost us in our [salary] cap by league rules isn’t the problem for him, it’s more of a problem [with Forest]… And the club obviously is not — at this point at least, in all our conversations — open to let him go for a price that would make this deal possible. That’s where we’re at. Within the limits we have and the expectations Nottingham have, it will not be possible to make him an offer that is worthwhile for him to give up the contract he has there.”

Laryea has 18 months left on his contract with Forest, until June 2025. Adams and Transfermarkt’s resident Canadian expert Manuel Veth each suggested that Laryea is keeping his options open and could head back overseas or return to MLS with another team.

Who his suitors could be remains to be seen.

Laryea told Waking The Red back in October, after his former Canadian men’s national team head coach John Herdman was named TFC boss, that he’s expecting good things from the Reds under Herdman.

“I think it’s a very interesting situation for him because he’s a guy that likes projects,” Laryea told Waking The Red after a Whitecaps training session at UBC. “I think he’s going to do very, very well [at TFC] because he’s a guy that likes challenges, and obviously that’s a good challenge for him to have [in Toronto] to turn things around for that club.

“I think he’s going to do very well, honestly. It’s a great opportunity for him to really show exactly what he can do.”

Toronto FC’s offseason has been very quiet so far but, OK, we’ll say it: perhaps Laryea and Herdman fancy a reunion? It would take some financial shifting, but who knows?