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Peter Vermes on the Post-Shutdown Transfer Market

Transfer are currently paused, but it could pick up soon.

Sporting KC v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Earlier today, we posted part of an interview Peter Vermes gave to the crew over at Extra Time talking about a wide range of subjects, including the story of how Roger Espinoza ended up being drafted by Sporting Kansas City (the KC Wizards). Also during that interview, host Andrew Weibe asked Vermes about COVID-19’s effect on the transfer window.

Vermes would go on to talk about the stock market. When the market is down, you invest. You “double down.” You “take a shot.” Will Sporting KC take a shot? That’s not clear.

“I think there’s a lot of discounts and there will be a lot of discounts in this next window and the window after,” said Vermes. “And the question is, are you willing to take advantage of that? I look at it on our side. I’m really glad we were able to make the acquisition that we did with [Alan] Pulido prior to this happening because I don’t know if we would have been willing to do it now.”

It’s interesting, because Vermes starts talking about how wise investors put money into the market when the market is down. You can get depressed assets at great deals, but then he goes on to say they might not have spent like they did. If anything, maybe Pulido’s transfer fee would have been greatly reduced instead of being one of the highest in league history. Or maybe Chivas Guadalajara wouldn’t be willing to sell at all.

All hope is not lost though. Sporting KC and in particular Peter Vermes loves a bargain. “For us, we’ve always done this, we’ve always looked for deals if you will,” continued Vermes. “Real discounted deals. It’s kind of been the makeup of our club for years. Also being a small market. And we’ll continue to try and do that, even in this market.”

So, as we’ve all come to expect, Vermes won’t say anything until the deal is done. But the team has $250,000 in injury replacement salary available for Felipe Gutierrez and there is a definite case to be made they need some midfield depth, particular in the defensive midfielder spot.

If I had to guess, I’d say Sporting would be more active in the winter window. As few as three games will be played in Orlando and the plan beyond that hasn’t yet been revealed. With ongoing outbreaks of the coronavirus, there is a chance there won’t be soccer in MLS beyond this one-off tournament.

It makes much more sense to stand pat and reassess in the offseason. A quick glance at the roster shows 16 players out of contract after 2020: Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Daniel Salloi, Gerso Fernandes, Gianluca Busio, Johnny Russell, Felipe Gutierrez, Eric Dick, Graham Smith, Wan Kuzain, Erik Hurtado, Botond Barath, Felipe Hernandez, Richard Sanchez, Amadou Dia and Gadi Kinda.

However, don’t panic, an astounding 10 of them have options for 2021 or beyond. The only players without options are Besler, Espinoza, Gerso, Hurtado, R. Sanchez and Kinda. Plus Gadi has a purchase option in his loan, so if he keeps playing the way he started, he’s sticking around. Also, one would imagine players like Besler, Espinoza and Gerso getting extensions dependent on what they want and how 2020 plays out.

Below is the full interview. The portion about the transfer market picks up around the 43rd minute.

Update 10:08 PM: At today’s press conference, TBT Site Manager Thad Bell got confirmation from Vermes that there are no plans to make any moves in the short transfer window before the tournament.