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Sporting Kansas City Face A Tough Decision In Regards to Espinoza

To sell or not to sell? That is the question. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
To sell or not to sell? That is the question. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Unless you have been living under a rock since the summer Olympics, you probably are well aware that Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza is a rather hot commodity in the world of football at the moment.

Espinoza, who was simply fantastic during the summer games for Honduras, has been the talk of the English press about a potential move overseas.

The rumor that appears to have the most legs at this point is that English Premier League side, Wigan Athletic, are interested in bringing Espinoza across the Atlantic before the transfer window shuts on Friday.

And even if Wigan aren't as interested in Roger as most seem to think, there certainly are teams vying for his signature, given the fact that Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman posted a message on twitter saying that the club would do everything in their power to keep Roger in Kansas City.

Sporting Kansas City no doubt find themselves in a rather precarious situation. If the transfer figures from a European club are right for Sporting KC and Major League Soccer, does Kansas City sell a player that has been integral to the team's success right as Sporting are supposed to make their final playoff push? Or do they hold on to Espinoza past the transfer window, let him play out the last year of his contract, make him a solid offer, and retain his MLS rights should ever return to Major League Soccer after testing his skills in Europe?

Obviously, either decision carries with it both pros and cons.

Selling Espinoza would bring along with it a rather hefty amount of money (at least in MLS terms) in regards to a transfer fee a club would pay to meet Sporting and Major League Soccer's liking. Kansas City wouldn't pocket all of the transfer fee (MLS will receive a fair share as well), but it will still be a sizable amount regardless, that the club could use to reinvest into the team.

The downside? Sporting Kansas City would be losing arguably their most valuable player of the 2012 season, with no way to replace his production. There's simply no one on Kansas City's roster that can replicate what Roger does for this team in the midfield.

Combine the potential transfer of Espinoza with the loss of Teal Bunbury due to injury, and it's reasonable to think that Sporting Kansas City would no longer be vying for an MLS Cup. Losing Teal for the rest of the season was a significant blow. Losing Roger? It's a scenario that I don't think Sporting Kansas could probably recover from, at least not in regards to the club's ambition to "paint the wall."

The alternative would be to keep Roger past the transfer deadline, and hope that management can convince Roger to stay in Kansas City with a new contract, or at the very least, retain his MLS rights should he leave for Europe after his current contract expires at the end of the 2012 campaign.

The positives to this scenario are obvious, as Espinoza has already helped Sporting KC win a US Open Cup championship, and with Roger bossing the midfield, Kansas City, in all likelihood, would still be one of the favorites to compete for the MLS Cup trophy, or perhaps even claim the Supporters' Shield.

Of course, the downside would be that Sporting Kansas City might very well piss Roger off if they were to block a potential transfer to a more prestigious football club. This probably is a once in a lifetime opportunity for an MLS player, and Roger's stock will probably never be higher than it is right now. I would imagine Sporting nixing a transfer wouldn't sit too well with the 25 year old Honduran. Roger has already expressed his desire to further his career in a bigger league, and who can really blame him? Top athletes want to play at the highest level possible, and make the most money that they can during their careers. Why would Roger be any different?

So, needless to say, Sporting Kansas City find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

I know what the Sporting KC fan in me wants to happen. Selfishly, I want Roger to stay, and to help Kansas City lift the MLS Cup trophy. But there's also a slightly bigger part of me that wants what's best for Roger Espinoza, what would truly make him happy, and unfortunately for us, that probably means Sporting's #15 moving on to greener pastures.

At the very least, I think he deserves that opportunity.