Since the 2017 season ended the question of who will be the Designated Player striker for Sporting Kansas City is on everyone’s tongue. It was put there by then CEO Robb Heinemann and Technical Director and Head Coach Peter Vermes. Heinemann promised a number nine (striker) and 10 (attacking-mid). Vermes was more coy saying the player wasn’t currently on the roster (and Diego Rubio’s lack of minutes prove he wasn’t kidding).
I believe it’s safe to say that Felipe Gutierrez is the attacking midfielder, even if he’s really more of a #8 (box-to-box) midfielder who happens to be pretty creative. Even with him injured, that promise is at least partially fulfilled. When he comes back from his injury in 2-3 months it’ll be like an awesome summer signing joining the team.
Whatever hope there was for a primary transfer window signing, specifically a #9, was dashed last week when the window quietly came to a close. Vermes acknowledged the team has been trying but clubs have been reluctant to let players go especially when they were battling for titles, trophies or to avoid relegation. Most of the world’s seasons will come to an end in the coming weeks and when the secondary transfer window opens (July 10th - August 8th) a move could be imminent. Though we’ve heard that before. Vermes always seems to add someone though it seems rare that player makes an impact. That said, this seems to be a different Peter Vermes.
Which brings us to a few more rumors. First: Fernando Torres. This isn’t a new rumor. Torres was thrown out as a possibility in the comments of a story by a member of our community. It picked up enough steam (probably unrelated) that noted rumor site MLSsoccer.com put up a story. Then our own Bob Rusert asked PV himself about interest in Torres (and Bobby Wood) to which he replied, “probably all of the above, and we will kind of see where it goes from there.”
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
Now ESPN is getting in the action with Jeff Carlisle asking Vermes about it again.
When asked about any potential interest in Torres, Sporting Kansas City technical director and manager Peter Vermes said: “We have considered the player. Whether that’s off or on, I don’t have an answer for it because we’re looking at so many different options at the moment. But [Torres’] name has been in the mix for sure.”
The ESPN story goes on to link the Chicago Fire, who have Torres’ discovery rights (because they clearly discovered 34-year-old Torres), Houston Dynamo and the Montreal Impact. The fire have been linked for a bit and Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic played with Torres at Atletico Madrid, but the story also says Torres prefers a warm climate. I’m not sure anyone prefers Houston, but that’s the only one of those teams that have a warm climate unless we count the sweltering midwest humidity in the summer.
Regardless, this feels like Vermes just saying they are interested when in fact Torres appears to be a bad fit. His defensive work-rate is questionable at best and he feels more like a poacher. That said, someone needs to score goals from the center forward spot because Khiry Shelton can do a lot of things but it seems scoring isn’t one of them.
Which brings us to the second rumor which is 100% grasping at straws. A rumor, which I believe I also first saw in The Blue Testament comments, is that Sporting KC could be the team that put in a $12 million bid for soon-to-be relegated UD Las Palmas (La Liga) forward Sergio Araujo. MLSsoccer.com actually confirmed an MLS team did make a bid, but it was for $4 million. That feels a lot more like a number SKC would pay (though CEO Jake Reid has been quoted as saying they’d spend $15 million).
The story states the LA Galaxy were another rumored team but confirmed they don’t hold his discovery rights — though they didn’t say who does hold them. Araujo is a 26-year-old former Argentine youth international that has actually been playing with AEK Athens in the Greek league. An interesting connection is that Araujo, who started in Argentine with Boca Juniors, was loaned to Barcelona B where he played with none other than Ilie Sanchez.
This move seems like something that is much more likely to happen than Torrez — but by no means does that mean it will happen. These things are just fun to think about and ponder. To remind you just how baseless most of these rumors are, let’s take a quick look back at the rumors for just this season.
- Bobby Wood — Started by a community member, flames stoked by yours truly (and Bob).
- Antonio Manuel Fernandes Mendes aka Tomane — me again doing wild speculation.
- Krisztian Nemeth — Mike and I fought about this one.
- No specific names, but this time Kerry Zavagnin was stirring up rumors.
- Leigh Griffiths — the Daily Mail... so I think we knew right away.
- Marco Paixao — at least Sporting KC are mentioned by name.
- Mauro Boselli — another $4 million rumor.
None of these have come to pass (yet). And probably none of them will. I still enjoy thinking about it, but if another window passes and Sporting KC don’t keep winning at this ridiculous clip, a lot of fans will (rightfully) be very upset.