Sporting Kansas City are firmly in the thick of the MLS offseason schedule. On the Friday after their season prematurely ended, the team announced their first wave of offseason roster moves. That included declining contract options for Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza. As a part of that announcement, they indicated they were trying to sign Gadi Kinda to a new contract. That echoed reporting from earlier in the week.
Outside of local media, the most likely source for Major League Soccer information is from MLS Insider, Tom Bogert of The Athletic. He went on this week’s episode of the Sporting KC show and dropped a little info that makes the re-signing seem unlikely, though doesn’t entirely shut the door.
“From what I’ve heard, and this isn’t definitive, or means it’s done, but from what I’ve heard it seems unlikely he’ll be back,” started Bogert. “Or at least more likely that he leaves than not. It’s an interesting one for me. If he was like, ‘I’m not coming back unless I have a DP deal,’ then I don’t think you do it. Because I don’t think you can have the injury risk of Pulido and Kinda on your DP list. And they could still add another DP, even if they brought Kinda back on a DP deal.”
“But if there is some leeway there that he could be under that threshold, then I’d really consider it. And it just depends on what your offseason plans are. And what you think your budget is going to be from ownership to go out and spend. Because if Kinda doesn’t come back, which seems likely, they’re going to need a significant investment to bring in another attacking midfielder. Erik Thommy is a creative player and a very good player as well, but they need another kind of creative option in the midfield. If they have $4 or 5 million to throw at a transfer, that would be fantastic.”
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) December 7, 2023
Obviously, that leaves the door open, but Tom is often very in the know around the league. There had been rumblings from unsubstantiated sources that Kinda wanted to go back to Europe. That would make sense considering the distance he is from his family, and he just had his first child.
We should know more on Kinda in the coming weeks.
What’s this about Adding Designated Players?
With Kinda officially out of contract, that already frees up one DP slot. He had been a DP for the rest of his stint with the team (outside of the original loan) because his transfer fee pushed his average annual value of salary plus fees to over the DP threshold.
The other two DP spots are taken by Alan Pulido and Erik Thommy. Pulido signed a new contract, so we don’t officially know what it’s for, but I suspect it’ll be like his last deal and make him a Designated Player that cannot be bought down.
Erik Thommy on the other hand makes right near the Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) limit. That means, Sporting KC could buy down his DP status and add two DPs. The math gets really murky and there is an element of non-transparency that makes it tough to know exactly how much spending SKC can do.
On this week’s Home and Away Podcast, Drew and Cody do a good job of going deep into the weeds and really trying to hammer out, within a few hundred thousand dollars, how much spend SKC have available to them.
It sounds impossible that Kinda could come back, Thommy could be bought down, and two DPs could be added. But if Kinda comes back, they could still add another DP it would seem. There might not be much spending left. If Kinda is gone though, maybe the team could add two Designated Players which would be huge. It’d basically be that and nothing else outside of maybe minimum guys. It’s really hard to know, the math is hard. We’ll see if we can figure that out more clearly as the offseason continues.
Stay with the KC Soccer Journal ahead of next week’s likely influx of news with the roster freeze being lifted, a trade window opening and a few mechanisms kicking in ahead of the MLS Draft.