Landing Sporting Kansas City’s newest DP was not a quick or easy process. They had their eye on Gerso Fernandes for some time.
“Kerry (Zavagnin) and our scout in Portugal identified him about a year or two ago and he was on our depth chart for some time,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes explained. “The problem was it was at a time where there was no way for us to do a deal and the timing became right and we were able to get it done.”
Vermes and his staff have an ever changing list of players they are tracking that they think would be a good fit. When players leave or they need to be replaced, SKC’s staff look to this depth chart to determine who they can bring in.
Not an easy process as it is a constantly shifting target. Need a winger? Go to the list and try to work out who can be brought in and through which mechanism.
Perhaps a trade like how they acquired Brad Davis last season. Or through free agency as in the case of Justin Mapp. Or in this case, find a moment where the roster spot, the salary cap and probably Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) availability all converge to land a new winger for Sporting KC.
This was not a case of having just seen some great highlight videos either. “We saw him live a couple of times,” Vermes stated. “We have a scout that has probably seen him, oh, my gosh, probably 50 times. So we've seen the guy quite often.”
Vermes did confirm that he would be a Designated Player (DP). Gerso will be a maximum budget charge of $480,625 (unless they buy that down). Problem is Sporting KC already has three DP’s and a player or two that could be DP’s but have had their salary bought down through TAM or GAM (General Allocation Money).
Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi and Diego Rubio are currently DP’s. At least Matt Besler, Dom Dwyer and probably Benny Feilhaber are all in the DP range but have had their contracts bought down already so they do not have to be carried as DP’s.
In order to add Gerso Fernandes, Vermes will need to buy down one of his existing DP’s. “Our DPs are in very good ranges in regards to TAM, so we have the ability to do that,” Vermes stated.
“We haven’t done it yet. We’ll do it as we get closer to the compliance date, which is in March,” Vermes added. “We have the luxury to do it on multiple guys.”