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Rumor: Krisztian Nemeth Linked to Sporting KC Return

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So much is happening! More moves look to be coming.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City
Who doesn’t want to see a bunch of these goal celebrations again?
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

When we told you Sporting Kansas City would be “active” in the transfer window, I’m sure no one envisioned this. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you have no doubt heard the news that Dom Dwyer was traded to Orlando City for a record intra-league transfer.

With Dom gone, a replacement must be found. The rumor mill was swirling before the trade was official, but the news should be coming hot and heavy now that Sporting KC are flush with both General Allocation Money (GAM) and Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) [here is an explanation of GAM and TAM]. The biggest rumor is the return of Krisztian Nemeth.

Paul Tenorio has stated that “per a league source, SKC is in talks with Columbus Crew about top spot in allocation order as they try to bring Krisztian Nemeth back to #MLS.”

Understading the Allocation Process

I broke this down this morning, but it’s worth addressing again. Sporting KC are currently ranked 10th in the MLS Allocation Order and would likely need to move up, probably all the way to first, to reacquire Nemeth. Currently the Columbus Crew SC sit in he first spot.

The reason SKC need to trade up to that spot is because when Nemeth left on a transfer before the 2016 season, the club sold him for a fee of more than $500,000 (reportedly $3 million). Because of that, Nemeth must go through the allocation process to return to the league. You may recall Roger Espinoza leaving to play in England a few years ago but he came straight back to KC. The reason is because he left on a free transfer.

You may want to know what it’s going to take to move up the allocation ranking. Columbus holds all the cards, because they can hold the spot ransom. But earlier this season D.C. United traded from the 9th spot up to the 1st spot. To make that move D.C. gave up $100,000 of GAM, $75,000 in TAM and an international roster spot. Just a couple of days ago an international roster spot was traded from the Montreal Impact to Vancouver Whitecaps for $50,000 in GAM.

That would seem to indicate at least $225,000 would need to be sent to Columbus for that spot and likely more since it’s another spot and the Crew know SKC are rolling in money ($900,000 today, plus up to another $700,000 is coming).

The damage could be much more than that though. On July 3rd, the New England Revolution traded from the 5th spot up to the 2nd spot with the San Jose Earthquakes. To make that move the Revs gave up $175,000 in various allocation moneys. That was just to move up three spots.

Another example was the deal back on February 15th when the Vancouver Whitecaps traded away $225,000 and an international roster spot to Minnesota United to flip from the 5th spot to the 1st spot.

It would not surprise me to see Sporting KC give away $300,000 to make this move. Then they still need to sign Nemeth, who will likely require more TAM or GAM to buy down his salary under the Designated Player threshold.

Nemeth Wants to Return

Let’s not forget, Nemeth seemed to have remorse over leaving. Back in Februrary he was quoted as saying, “I would like to go back to #MLS. In Kansas we had a beautiful stadium and it was sold out every week.”

What Nemeth is describing isn’t the case in all Major League Soccer cities. Sporting KC have something very special at Sporting Park Children’s Mercy Park.

It’s also worth remembering that Nemeth, like head coach Peter Vermes, is Hungarian. He’d also be quite the role model for fellow goal scoring Hungarian Daniel Salloi. It simply doesn’t seem like Sporting would make the Dwyer trade if they didn’t have something lined up. Deals have fallen apart before, but it seems there is a will here to make this happen.

Also, MLS bends the rules. Mostly we are left complaining that the bending and stretching of the rules benefits the big clubs in Los Angeles in New York. This could be a time, when the bending helps a small market team like Kansas City.

In the past when a player wants to return the league makes the deal happen. Not to say MLS will make Columbus trade their spot to Sporting, but who knows what kind of back room dealing will go on to make this happen. Nemeth may make it known while he wants to return, he will only return to KC. As you’ve probably heard, players don’t sign with teams but with the league. Nemeth is a player who has some value and the league would probably like back in the fold.

I’ve seen several people out on Twitter say that they would have traded Dwyer for Nemeth straight up. If it all works out SKC could get Nemeth and still have north of a $1 million in TAM or GAM left to play with. Crazy.

One last point worth making. Lots of people are criticizing Nemeth potentially replacing Dwyer saying the team needs a true #9 (center forward). Nemeth is a center forward. He played on the wing because the team had Dwyer. He cut in constantly. While he could still play out wide, if he returns, I’d expect him to play up top if he’s in shape and ready to go. If not, imagine him combining with Diego Rubio and Gerso. Exciting stuff.

We’ll have more on this story as it continues to develop.

[Update: 7/26/17 at 10:14 PM]

According to Goal.com, the Columbus Crew had worked out a deal with an unidentified MLS club to move up to the top of the Allocation Order so they could get Nemeth but Nemeth backed out after discussions with Sporting KC. The man wants to return home.

Also, the Kansas City Star is reporting that Nemeth is in some sort of dispute with his former club in Qatar over money owed to him as a part of his release. The details are vague but they are describing it as a “snag” in the process.