On Thursday, Sporting Kansas City made the signing of Israeli midfielder Gadi Kinda (pronounced GAH-dee KINN-dah) official. There is lots to figure out about the new signing, but here are a few things we know so far.
Vermes Sees Him as a Box-to-Box Midfielder
While many of his highlights and stats support that he’s an attacking midfielder (and Transfermarkt puts that as his position), Peter Vermes says he’s a box-to-box midfielder, or a #8 (think Roger Espinoza — though SKC play with two #8s really).
“He is a No. 8 in the central midfield who plays both ways, for sure. He’s got a really good engine. His defensive responsibilities are very well ingrained in him, and he has some good attacking tendencies to get into the box. I expect him to fit in well to the way that we play, and we look forward to him joining the team.”
He Led His Last Team in Goals and Assists
For the 2019-20 season for Kinda at Beitar Jerusalem FC, he tallied seven goals and added four assists before being sent to Kansas City. Both of those totals were good enough to lead his entire team, despite playing in the midfield and not on the forward line. The seven goals were also good enough for fourth in the entire league. In addition, since joining Beitar Jerusalem the team went from 11th to 3rd year-over-year and won the 2019-20 Toto Cup Al.
He’s NOT a Designated Player
The announcement from Sporting KC indicated that his contract would be paid for with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). We don’t know the roster rules for the 2020 season yet (the CBA expires on January 31st) but in 2019 lingo that means he makes less than $1.5 million including transfer fees pro-rated over the life of the contract (more on that in a second). If prior rumors are to be believed then Kinda will make $600,000 in 2020. That would be above the 2019 salary budget max of $530,000 and require some sort of allocation money to buy down his contract to not make him a DP.
We may not know the official salary for quite some time. In 2019 the announcement wasn’t released until June. If the $600k number is valid, based on known salaries from 2019 (and the assumption that Alan Pulido is up at the top or at least near it), Kinda will fall into the 9th slot just behind Matt Besler and ahead of Gerso Fernandes.
Kinda’s Deal May Not Really be a Loan
I know this story has got “know” in the title, but this one is pretty gray. Kinda’s deal was announced as a one-year loan with the option to buy at the end of the 2020 season. According to a since deleted Tweet from Beitar’s manager, Yoni Saadon, that may not be the case.
“On loan / purchase: This is a purely technical matter. Kansas cannot pay all the money in
Meccain one stroke because they have a restriction on purchases in one season. They will transfer the money now at the expense of next season and from a contractual point of view the purchase will only be made next season.”
The “Mecca” part of the Tweet is apparently a bad translation too. Instead it seems to mean that the team cannot pay all the money at once.
Note: That "Mecca" is a bad machine translation (blame the way Hebrew vowels work). It's saying "they can't pay the money all at once". Google is seeing במכה and reading it as "in Mecca", which it would be saying in a different context, but it's really saying "in one stroke"— Moishe Oofnik (@sampierron) January 24, 2020
Adding to the confusion is Gadi’s agent Dudu Dahan Tweeting that his client signed a four-year deal with Sporting KC.
Official! The Israeli brilliant midfielder Gadi Kinda signed 4 years deal with @SportingKC #good-luck pic.twitter.com/Zf1Q7pcZqx— Dudu Dahan (@dududahan555) January 23, 2020
So what does it all mean? It’s unclear but many are speculating that it’s some fancy MLS accounting. Basically, it’s made to look like a one-year loan but in reality Sporting KC may have already executed their option to buy Kinda (“they will transfer the money now at the expense of next season”).
It could be that he’ll be a Designated Player in 2021 or possibly that this is a complex maneuver to navigate the future Collective Bargaining Agreement that has yet to come and he’ll remain a TAM player but it shifts some sort of cap charge to 2021.
Kinda has a Heck of a Highlight Reel
Here is the one we posted in the original rumor story that shows the 2019-20 season.
Here is another one from right before he joined Beitar in February of 2019.
And here is one from 2015. As he’s clearly on a worse team, it shows him playing deeper more often to show off those box-to-box skills.
Highlight videos can of course be misleading. They are highlights. But quite a few things jump out at me. He’s got both great acceleration and pretty good top end speed. His touch is tricky, unpredictable and he clearly works well in tight spaces. He also goes hard into some challenges (he does have eight yellow cards in 16 appearances this season).
Additionally, he has some really nice passes that cut through multiple lines. He drew quite a few fouls, including appearing to get multiple goalkeepers sent off. And of course he has some nice goals and assists. Oh, and he appears to do the Dom Dwyer cartwheel to back flip to celebrate his goals. Hopefully there will be lots of them in Children’s Mercy Park.