When Sporting Kansas City made Jeferson the third-ever Designated Player in the club's history in July, expectations were that Sporting had landed the attacking midfielder that would be able to unlock the offense.
However, after joining the team over two months ago, Jeferson is still struggling to find his role on a suddenly deep Sporting roster.
Which brings us to the dilemma Peter Vermes will have to face soon enough; what should Sporting Kansas City do with Jeferson after the end of the 2011 MLS season?
At the moment, Jeferson is guaranteed to make at least $484,996 this season. At the moment, I'm not a MLS Salary Cap Czar or anything, and therefore, I'm not totally sure of all of the rules, but that's the least that Jeferson will make. That's a healthy chunk of change for a player that has contributed 0 goals, and only 1 assist in the 8 games he's played in so far.
Granted, with the quad strain Jeferson suffered earlier this summer, it's made his ability to gel with the team that much harder. The injury pushed back Jeferson's progression almost a complete month.
But even since his return, Jeferson has still been relatively underwhelming. Last Friday's match against the Philadelphia Union was just another example of Sporting Kansas City becoming a more productive unit with Jeferson on the sidelines.
Jeferson started that match, but Vermes pulled him in the 46th minute in favor of bringing in defender Aurelien Collin, and moving Julio Cesar up to the midfield.
Not long after that, in the 56th minute to be exact, Sporting Kansas City broke through and scored the first goal of the match via Omar Bravo.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but it seems that Vermes is gravitating towards utilizing a line up with Cesar at the holding midfielder position, and moving Roger Espinoza higher up the pitch to team up with Graham Zusi. This lineup probably doesn't bode well for Jeferson.
The return of Sporting Kansas City captain Davy Arnaud, won't help Jeferson's chances either. it appears Davy is almost back to being completely fit, and one would have to think that when he's ready to come back, Vermes won't hesitate to insert him into the starting XI.
Add in the addition of former FC Braga midfielder Peterson Joseph, and it becomes clear that Jeferson's days in a Sporting kit are probably numbered.
At the end of the day, the gamble on Jeferson was a low risk move, seeing as it's only a loan deal with his Brazilian team, Vasco da Gama. With that in mind, I don't think it was necessarily a bad idea bringing him in to see if he could become that traditional central attacking midfielder that Sporting has been looking for.
But for all intents and purposes, I think the best thing to do would be to let Jeferson go at the end of the season. The money Sporting is using on Jeferson's contract would come in handy down the road, as a number of very young, and promising players on the roster will be due for new contracts.
Revisiting the MLS Salary Cap figures, I would have to imagine that the following Sporting Kansas City players have earned, and will be looking for new deals; Graham Zusi, CJ Sapong, Matt Besler, and Seth Sinovic.
So, what do you think? What should Sporting Kansas City do with Jeferson after the conclusion of the 2011 MLS season?