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Three Potential Attacking Midfield Targets for Sporting KC

Vermes says the team needs attacking midfielders. Here are three one writer found that may be a fit for Sporting Kansas City.



Credit: Thad Bell

In a recent interview with Daniel Sperry of the Kansas City Star, Vermes noted Sporting Kansas City will be “active” in the transfer market. Vermes also noted the immediate need for an attacking midfielder and upgrades at the wing positions. Given this transfer market is littered with talent, who might SKC target? I profile three players I believe Sporting KC could target in the market and might have an immediate impact on the team.

Before I profile these players, I want to note a couple of details on this search: (1) all three of the players are either out of contract come June 30, or current free agents and (2) all of these players fit a need and style for Sporting KC. Additionally, I searched for players that would come from markets that SKC has tapped into in the past, such as the Israeli Pro League, La Liga, Liga Portugal, and Bundesliga. Now let’s get into the profiles.

Max Meyer, Attacking Midfielder

Age: 28

Current Club: FC Luzern

Out of Contract: June 30th 

If I’m being honest, this guy should be a top target for Sporting KC. Meyer is a former German international, who has bounced around some of Europe’s top leagues with stops in the Bundesliga, English Premier League, and Turkish League.

Across all of his stops, two skills are very evident: his chance creation and press-breaking ability. Meyer isn’t a speed demon by any stretch, but he understands space and can dribble extremely well. This helps him create chances too. Last year in the Swiss Super League, Meyer led FC Luzern in goals (6), expected goals (8.8) and chances created (66) per fotmob.

It’s rumored he makes approximately 572,000 euros per year, though it’s impossible to know the exact figure. This would put him in the perfect range for SKC to swoop in and snag him. He also doesn’t have severe injury problems and has stayed fit for much of his career. He played 36 games and 2,211 minutes for FC Luzern, so he is fit and should have an immediate impact for SKC day one.

He also makes a perfect fit for our midfield given that Erik Thommy speaks German as well. Another plus is, though his team doesn’t play in the 4-3-3 SKC sets up in, he does play in a team that holds possession (3rd in the league in possession), wins the ball in the attacking 3rd (3rd in the league) and passes well (3rd in the league in accurate passes per match).

Meyer has also proven to be versatile as he has been deployed on the wing before, though his main position has been in the attacking midfield. His style would fit right into the SKC if the MLS is the next destination for him.

Xadas, Attacking Midfielder/Winger

Age: 26

Current Club: Marítimo

Out of Contract: June 30th 

This guy might be the sleeper out of the three and would come at a good price.

Xadas has all of the qualities of an attacking midfielder in SKC’s setup: he presses well, has a strong work rate, and plays between the lines with either passing or dribbling. He has also played on the right and left wing multiple times throughout his career.

He is naturally left-footed so he could provide an option as an inverted winger, ala Johnny Russell. This season Xadas played in Liga2 Portugal posting five goals and five assists after his squad Marítimo was relegated from Liga1. His Liga 1 season in 22-23 he posted similar numbers with three goals and six assists. He also created 62 chances which was 6th in the league that year.

Xadas is also a great fit tactically as he plays in a three-man midfield with a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Pressing responsibilities at SKC might be different but not unfamiliar for this player. It was reported that he was getting paid the equivalent of $127,937 US dollars in Portugal. Given the market for a player with his talent, that price would be a steal. Getting a player like Xadas, in his prime with little to no injury history is ideal for a team like SKC that needs to get younger, and needs to add talent to compete in the MLS.

José Pozo, Attacking Midfielder

Age: 28

Current Club: Rayo Vallecano

Out of Contract: June 30th

Pozo might be one of the most experienced players out of this bunch having played 159 games in LaLiga 2 and 44 games in LaLiga. He has experience playing on either wing spot but has amassed much of his experience in the midfield.

Pozo is by far the best passer of this group and in particular is talented and playing long switches (a staple in the SKC attack) and playing passes between lines. Like Meyer, he isn’t the fastest, but gets past defenders with great positioning, body feints and just tactical awareness.

More than all of his talent, he fits the mold of a player Vermes might recruit—someone with LaLiga experience, high soccer IQ and great passing ability. Of the three players, I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy wasn’t already on Vermes and his scouts radar.

My only, gripe about Pozo is that statistically, he is a bit of an enigma. Even when he played in La Liga2 he wasn’t the main chance creator; he amassed only 30 created chances in La Liga2 in the 19-20 season, and that was fifth on the team.

Though the basic numbers don’t always capture one’s talent there is always more to a player than meets the eye. That same season (19-20) according to Fbref he was in the 93 percentile for progressive passes and 94th percentile for progressive carries and has posted very similar in the seasons since then. All this points to a player who is forward-thinking and aggressive in the attack, something SKC has lacked with the departure of Gadi Kinda. Currently, Pozo earns a modest 340,000 euros per year, a salary that surely SKC can match.

This transfer market Sporting KC has to be aggressive. That means finding the players that fit the team needs and strengthening weaknesses. While there are a lot of areas to fill, number one has to be the attacking midfield position. These three players are some of the best SKC can get for a bargain.

What do you think about these players? Should SKC be looking out for another player in the transfer market? Comment below!

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