United States National Team player Bobby Wood is being linked to a move to MLS. In the words of Stephen Goff of the Washington Post, he is “exploring the possibility.” It’s an idea that was floated nearly a month ago by our own community member Shawn Gillogly.
When Peter Vermes was asked about Wood (or Fernando Torres of Atletico Madrid for that matter) he hardly through water on the rumor stating the team was considering both players.
Asked about interest in strikers Bobby Wood or Fernando Torres, Peter Vermes replied, "Probably all of the above, and we will kind of see where it goes from there." @BlueTestamentKC— SpKCLife.com (@SpKCLife) April 17, 2018
It’s clear that Sporting Kansas City fans will still want a Designated Player #9 to be added after that promise was made at the end of the 2017 season. So far in 2018 the team is winning. And they are winning a lot (they sit in first place in the Western Conference — though that is the norm for the beginning of the year).
Despite the winning, the team has only a single goal from their striker in 2018. And that goal came from Diego Rubio, who came on as a sub, and who was arguably playing on the wing when he scored. Khiry Shelton, the starter of six games this season, only has four shots on goal. But this story is about Bobby Wood.
Wood is on the verge of being relegated (Hamburg has a 97% chance of being relegated). However, he’s under contract until the end of the 2020-2021 Bundesliga season. According to Sam Stejskal, Wood is being paid “several million dollars per season.” The highest paid Sporting KC player (at least until the upcoming salary release) is Roger Espinoza at less than a million per season. It’s hard to imagine SKC spending several million.
Stejskal is also reporting that his source has Wood’s salary dropping when the team is relegated, but still not “to a level where they’d expect any MLS teams would be willing to match it.” In addition to salary demands, Sporting KC — or any other MLS team looking to make this move — would have to pay a transfer fee. Transfermarkt has his value at £2.70m (or $3.86 million). Hamburg would be looking to rebuild if relegated, so they may take a discount, but it’d have to be steep to get SKC interested.
Another point, which Gillogly pointed out, is that Wood isn’t subject to the MLS Allocation Order but Goff is reporting that an unnamed MLS team has him on their Discovery List, giving them the right to sign him. I think it would be hilarious if someone at Sporting KC read that story on The Blue Testament and decided to bring that idea up. Even though that probably didn’t happen, I’m going to let myself believe it. I digress.
While Stejskal doesn’t think Wood is likely to come to MLS for the reasons laid out above, I’m not putting anything past the league at this point. Wood is a good size star for the USMNT and he’d excite fans and sell jerseys. He seems like a good team fit in KC. Let’s just ignore that one goal in 20 league appearances this season in Germany.