Sporting Kansas City have been searching for a striker since the 2017 MLS season came to a premature end after the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Since that time a lot of players have been linked to Sporting KC, but nothing has come to fruition.
Despite nothing happening yet, it’s not stopping the entire MLS soccer world from speculating who could fill that role for SKC. The Athletic (a new up and coming sports site behind a paywall) has a story about players who could potentially be traded within MLS. Jeff Rueter speculated that Minnesota United’s Christian Ramirez may be available in a trade and he links that move to SKC (interestingly our community had that debate in the comments of another story before his story came out). Matt Doyle has the text if you don’t have an Athletic subscription yet:
This is a good shout from @jeffrueter: Christian Ramirez to Sporting KC makes a ton of sense for both teamshttps://t.co/mlTlMXMuPz pic.twitter.com/1USKUT6AOq— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) July 14, 2018
The reason he may be available is because, as we pointed out the other day, Minnesota United signed a new striker. Ángelo Rodríguez joins Minnesota from Club Deportes Tolima of Colombia’s Categoría Primera A and he’s their second Designated Player. When a team signs a DP at your position, you have to think your job is in jeopardy.
As Rueter points out Ramirez got a big raise from 2017 and he’s making $641,250. That’s a significant amount of money for someone who could end up on the bench once Rodriguez arrives. Ramirez is only 27-years-old but has significant time as a professional already. He floated around various American soccer minor leagues before coming to MLS from the NASL with Minnesota United.
In his three NASL seasons he scored 51 goals which probably is a good indication he was better than the people he was playing both with and against. He had a breakout year last season scoring 14 goals and adding three assists over 30 games (27 starts). This season, as mentioned, he was injured for a bit but he still has four goals (and one assist) in 1,076 minutes.
This is probably not the level of production Sporting KC fans are hoping for. But if they can’t land a DP striker, would they settle for a TAM level one? And would they settle for this TAM level striker?
If Sporting KC can land a DP this is a moot point, but let’s say they don’t. How much would they have to pay to get Ramirez? Of course Dom Dwyer was traded for $1.6 million from Sporting KC to Orlando City last season. At about the same point in the year Dwyer had similar numbers (five goals, one assist in slightly more minutes) and had similar production the prior season (16 goals). But Orlando were trading based on nostalgia, Cyle Larin potentially leaving and let’s be honest, they were ripped off. If this is the price, there is no way.
Let’s be honest, if it’s on the level of any of the recent attacking transfer deals, Sporting KC are probably out. David Accam’s trade was worth up to $1.2 million. Darlington Nagbe’s deal could be worth (but won’t be) $1.65 million. Justin Meram’s is worth $1.05 million. Lee Nguyen’s is worth up to $950k.
There are however some other deals that were done that may be more inline with what Sporting KC is willing to spend (and let’s be honest, would probably have to spend since attacking players are just worth more). Those players are Yamil Asad ($600k), Kevin Molino ($650k) and Paul Arriola ($500k). Even that might be too much for Sporting though.
It’s possible Minnesota would give him away for less because they could offload a large salary, especially if he’s not in their future plans. If so, him and Diego Rubio pushing each other for minutes should just make them both better. I personally don’t think it will happen because at this point I’d be surprised if Sporting KC don’t ultimately get their DP foreign transfer done, but you just never know.