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What’s Going on with Alan Pulido’s Contract?

There are a ton of rumors that Pulido has already signed a deal elsewhere, but recent reports cast doubt and the door remains open for Sporting KC.



Credit: Thad Bell

2023 has been a year of resurgence for Sporting Kansas City’s Alan Pulido. After missing the entirety of the 2022 MLS season due a serious knee injury, and frankly, missing a huge chunk of time since arriving in Kansas City, it’s about time he started to show up. Because of his lack of availability, he hasn’t been worth the money so far.

It’s ironic that he is finally performing because his contract is set to expire after this season. The question all season has been if Sporting KC are planning to renew his contract and if they even should. After an early report out of Mexico that he was negotiating with Kansas City, Peter Vermes confirmed it directly to the KC Soccer Journal back on media day this Spring.

Since that point, Vermes has consistently given the same answer that he wants to keep Pulido on the team and they are interesting getting that done. Since that point, there have been numerous rumors (too many to count and cite) that said Pulido wanted to go to Chivas (and that they wanted him), Cruz Azul were interested, the LA Galaxy wanted in and more.

The last time we picked up on this ongoing saga, the rumor was Pulido didn’t want to extend his deal with Kansas City. Since that point, Pulido has scored nine goals for Sporting KC and taken the lead in the team’s Golden Boot race (and frankly, isn’t terribly far out of the MLS Golden Boot race).

Where does Alan Pulido come down on all of this? When he was asked, he gave a typical answer that his agent is handling all that for him.

Then days later came a report out of Mexico that Pulido, as is his right with less than six months to go on his contract, has signed a pre-contract with Chivas.

It seems that most folks believe that to be the case and have accepted the fact that Pulido is going to leave. Then just the other day, there is a report Chivas hasn’t even made an offer and Sporting KC are still looking to extend.

What Should We Believe?

It’s clear that Pulido is keeping his options open. When asked if he wants to be in Kansas City or wants to stay in Kansas City, he says he does. When asked if he wants to be back with Chivas, he says he would be happy with that. He doesn’t want to burn either bridge.

I suspect all the conflicting reports out of Mexico are a mix of the truth and his agent trying to drive up the value of his player. Alan Pulido remains the team’s highest paid player at $2.2 million.

On the Kansas City front, Peter Vermes has consistently given the answer he wants to extend Pulido’s contract. He’s even told my colleague, Thad Bell, that Chivas has not been in contact with Kansas City (killing rumors of a sale). Thad, Daniel Sperry of the KC Star, and Adan Manzano of Telemundo keep asking and keep getting those same answers.

What is Going to Happen?

Until something is signed, Sporting KC will likely remain silent on the closeness of any deal. Vermes has often said he doesn’t discuss deals before they are done because they can fall apart at any moment.

There is something else worth noting that could hurt the case of Chivas Guadalajara. As Thad often points out, Alan Pulido was in a lawsuit with his former club. There is no indication that has been settled and Chivas appear to owe him the equivalent of $1 million, but punishment could cause that number to double if FIFA’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rules in favor of Pulido. The latest on the lawsuit from 2022 said it was still unresolved.

What do We Want to Happen?

For me personally, I’d be okay with Pulido re-joining the team, but ideally not as a Designated Player. Both his salary and his transfer fee put him well over the threshold on his first contract. For him to not be a DP in 2024, his contract would have to be for $1,683,750 or less. While that would represent a pay cut of a little over $500,000, it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Think of all the factors.

He missed over half the time he could possibly play in the first three seasons and even joined the lineup a little late this year still dealing with last year’s injury. He’s 32-years-old and would be 33 near the start of the 2024 season (strikers often don’t get better with age). Offering a discount for a team that paid him $8.8 million in salary over the last four years feels possible. Maybe he could sign a two-year deal with a third-year team option.

And if they can get him to agree to that number, that would leave the team two open DP slots (Gadi Kinda is out of contract after the season and if he re-signs, his prior salary was well under the threshold). That would allow Kansas City, if their ownership is willing, to spend very big to make a couple moves to really improve the team.

With a little lack of transparency from MLS, it’s possible even if he comes back on a TAM deal, they wouldn’t have enough GAM/TAM to make all these moves. If they did, that would be a lot of talent not signed under DP deals (though older talent).

Update on 7/22/2023

Vermes had a press conference for the Leagues Cup game against FC Cincinnati on Sunday and was asked about Pulido both playing his old team and the rumor.


There are a lot of rumors about Alan Pulido’s future. He can sign a pre-contract outside of MLS at any time, but there is no proof that he has, and recent reports say he hasn’t. Vermes remains steadfast SKC would like him back.

What do you want to see happen? Do you want to see Pulido back? Do you think he’s already signed to leave? Is he worth DP money if he stays? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

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