Updated on 2/3/2020 to add in new rumors since original release of this story.
When the 2019 MLS season ended you can hardly be blamed if you wanted nothing to do with soccer for a few months. Sporting Kansas City had their worst season in the last decade and sometimes it’s good to just get away from it all. However, if you did, you missed all the fun rumors of players who Sporting KC may (or may not) sign. With preseason starting, it’s probably time to catch up.
One such rumor came true. Sporting KC spent more money than they ever have on a transfer fee for Liga MX Golden Boot winner Alan Pulido in December. Outside of that, all the other rumors are just rumors (for now). None of them have yet signed. Here is a breakdown of the rumors by position group.
Lautaro Giannetti - CB - Velez Sarsfield (Argentina)
Giannetti is a 26-year-old center back and the offer was reportedly a $2 million transfer fee. This rumor came from early December, just after the Pulido signing. He reportedly just signed a new contract in September and he is the captain at Velez. Daniel Sperry reports that he has a $10 million release clause. Sporting previously did business with Velez Sarsfield when they obtained Emiliano Amor on loan.
Robert Arboleda - CB - Sao Paulo FC (Brazil)
This rumor is a bit of a cheat (so it’s not technically the offseason). It came while the 2019 MLS season was still going and before SKC added CB Roberto Puncec. He is a right-footed CB and he’s under contract through the summer of 2022 so a transfer fee would be necessary.
Winston Reid - CB - West Ham United (England)
The New Zealand National Team member has been out since May 2018 due to injuries before returning recently. Since the original rumor came out it was announced that Reid would likely end up in MLS. However, it was a loan deal with Nashville SC (or not).
Leo Lacroix - CB - Saint-Etienne (France)
While Reid is 31 and under contract till 2023, Lacroix is only 27-years-old and he’ll be out of contract come the summer. That means he could sign a pre-contract now and arrive for free in the summer. The report is that KC made an offer, so one would assume it’s a very low fee. This seems like the most likely of all the center backs on the list.
Emanuel Maciel - MID - San Lorenzo (Argentina)
Maciel is a player of which little is known. He is just 22-years-old and appears to play in multiple midfield spots. He has played as both an attacking midfielder for the reserve team and as a holding mid for the first team. He’s under contract through the summer of 2021 but he may make a nice addition as a future Ilie Sanchez replacement if his holding midfield skills are up to par.
Gadi Kinda - MID - Beitar Jerusalem F.C. (Israel)
This seems like somehow the most and least likely rumor. The most because the details seems so firm (contract length, amount, that he’s coming to the US to take a physical next week). And the least because the rumored transfer fee is $3.7 million, which seems significant for a 25-year-old who has only played in Israel against sub par competition. His highlight video is definitely worth a watch.
Update: Kinda officially signed with Sporting KC. While his deal was announced as a loan with an option to buy, it sounds like the option may have already been executed with the rumor being it’s a four-year-deal.
Richmond Boakye - ST - Red Star Belgrade (Serbia)
On the heels of the Pulido signing there was a rumor that Boakye could come to KC for a €2,500,000 transfer fee. The 26-year-old striker also plays for the Ghana National Team and bounced around the world even playing for Italian giants Juventus. Boakye appears to have solid pace and good scoring boots but it’s hard to imagine adding a third striker this offseason (Khiry Shelton being the 2nd).
Guy Mbenza - ST - Stade Tunisien (Tunisia)
This rumor had SKC offering just $500,000 for the Congo native Mbenza. The 19-year-old striker has also been linked to French Lique 1 teams like Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes. In our original story Thad suggested that maybe Mbenza could play on the wing since this rumor came a month after the Pulido signing. He’s another fast player that has been fairly prolific in front of goal.
Gianluca Busio to “Europe” and Fiorentina (Italy)
Early in the offseason there were several rumors about Busio heading to Europe. The most concrete was that two offers were made by Fiorentina from Serie A. So much so that our sister blog, Viola Nation, had five questions about Busio to get ready for his apparently not so impending arrival.
Felipe Gutierrez to Ecuador
There was never really anything to this one, but Guti was linked to LDU Quito. Later in the offseason Gutierrez said he wanted to stay with Sporting KC for “four or five more years.”