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Rumor: Sporting KC Linked to Argentina Center Back

Silly season nonsense or are the spending floodgates broken?

Velez v Boca Juniors - Superliga 2019/20 Photo by Gustavo Garello/Jam Media/Getty Images

Early today Sporting Kansas City opened their pocketbook in a huge fashion to add Liga MX Golden Boot winner Alan Pulido. His transfer fee could be anywhere as low as $6 million or as high as $10 million. And now another rumor is coming out they may be adding yet another player.

Agustin Sileo, a reporter in the Velez Sarsfield district of Argentina, is reporting that Velez’s captain, Lautaro Giannetti could be coming to Sporting KC.

Per Google Translate:

MLS Sporting Kansas City submitted an offer for the current captain of @Velez, Lautaro Giannetti. The defender has a contract with the club until June 2022.

Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield is in the top division in Argentina and they just finished their last game before their summer break yesterday (a 1-0 win over Patronato). They are in fourth place in Superliga Argentina behind Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors and Lanus (and just ahead of River Plate).

Velez Sarsfield last did business with Sporting KC when they loaned center back Emiliano Amor to KC for a short period before he return to Argentina.

Sileo went on to say that this was the first offer of the transfer window (though it doesn’t officially open until January). All that doesn’t matter as moves can be announced, players just can’t play in matches until the window opens (which is in February for MLS).

It’s hard to say if this rumor has any credibility at all. It’s a recent leak, but it could just be left over interest from before Sporting signed Croatian center back Roberto Puncec last week. SKC currently have five center backs on their roster: Matt Besler, Andreu Fontas, Botond Barath, Graham Smith and the recently added Puncec.

The team let in a record number of goals in 2019 (67) as opposed to 40 in 2018 and 29 in 2017. The team is clearly in need of improved defense but they have a lot invested in their back line already. As mentioned numerous times before, the team could buy out Andreu Fontas who currently makes north of $1 million and is signed to a guaranteed deal through 2022. Fontas is injured and will likely miss the start of the 2020 season.

Both Sileo and Transfermarkt show that Giannetti is signed through the (American) summer of 2022. That would mean Sporting would either need to offer a transfer fee for the 26-year-old center back or Velez Sarsfield would have to release him from his deal. It’s also possible the deal could be for a loan like it was with Amor.

Giannetti primarily plays center back but the right-footer can also lineup at left back. If we look at the always unreliable FIFA 20, he is faster than Besler, but much slower than Ike Opara. Checking Football Manager 2019 his speed and acceleration are rated as “not bad.” That’s identical to Besler.

According to Transfermarkt he just signed a new contract in September.

The odds of this move seem unlikely, though not entirely out of the realm of possibility. If Fontas were to stay he’d be the third international playing CB when only two can be on the field at once. It would seem, Fontas would need to be bought out for any more international CBs to be added. Sporting currently have five open roster spots including two international slots as of this writing.

The Blue Testament will bring you more rumors as we find them. Thanks to fellow staff writer Mike Kuhn for the hot tip.

Update 12/11/19: Daniel Sperry is reporting that the offer is for $2 million but Giannetti has a $10 million release clause.