The beginning of 2021 got off to an absolutely brutal start for Sporting Kansas City. News came out that the team would likely lose striker Alan Pulido for the season. Many fans were immediately down on the team, even if there is still a really solid stable of guys there to pick up the slack. Well, be down no more, because the rumor mill is here to lift you up!
According to ESPN Mexico, 22-year-old Chivas striker JJ Macias is being attached to a move to Sporting KC. Transfermarkt values Jose Juan Macias at $7.7 million which would mean a transfer would make him a Designated Player (DP). However, the ESPN report says the move would be a loan.
That may come as a surprise because Peter Vermes hasn’t shown an inclination to make a loan move too often, but this may be a perfect stop-gap for the injured Pulido as the DP is signed through 2023 and having four DPs simply wouldn’t work. More on that in a moment.
Macias is a member of Liga MX (Mexico) club Chivas Guadalajara, but has been on loan with La Liga (Spain) club Getafe. That loan actually runs through the summer of 2022 but he no longer figures into their plans according to several reports. The right-footed center forward has only made seven appearances and two starts while in Spain and has no goals or assists to show for it.
Despite that, he’s a young prospect that was once valued for as much as $11 million. If he comes on loan, the transfer fee won’t play a factor because Chivas would retain his rights, unless there is a purchase option built into the loan, which pushes the issue beyond this season. Goal.com caught up with Sporting KC’s Technical Director, Brian Bliss.
“We know the player very well, he did well in Mexico, in CONCACAF with the [U-17], with the [U-20] team, the Olympic team, we know that he has a contract with Getafe on loan,” said Bliss. “I’m not sure about the current situation of the player, we know of his abilities, he is a quality player, he is at a very good age , but that is the only thing I can say about it.”
“We are only looking for a player, he is the striker, the scorer, we have an open place, budget space and that is number 9 for the season, to help compensate for the loss of Alan [Pulido], we hope to close the player and arrive before the season. Unfortunately, time has passed, we know that we are going to have all the players in the season, not in preseason, so we are doing well,” he added.
“We hope in the next three weeks to have a new ‘9’ for the season,” continued Bliss. The expectations of the team, the fans, the owners is to be at the top of the season.”
(via Google Translate)
As Bliss mentions, Macias is a member of the Mexican National team and he is actually hoping to make the World Cup roster for Qatar 2022 this fall, but a lack of playing time at Getafe is hindering that. Additionally, the same writer of the ESPN story, Rene Tovar, said the arrival of Macias to SKC is “almost a fact.”
En caso de que se concrete la llegada de JJ Macías con el Sporting Kansas City, lo cual me aseguran es casi un hecho, ¿es un paso adelante o atrás en su carrera?— René Tovar (@Rene_Tovar) January 28, 2022
If this is true, it’s quite the get. Macias scored 11 goals in the 2020-21 season for Chivas before heading out on loan. In his career, he has 34 goals and three assists.
How Can Sporting KC Sign Macias?
This is actually relatively straight forward (haha — I mean for MLS). While Sporting Kansas City have said they have their three DPs and The Blue Testament confirmed with the league they don’t get a replacement DP just because Alan Pulido is placed on the season ending injury list (assuming he is), there is still a way.
The team does have three DPs, but it appears at least one of them (Johnny Russell) can be bought down using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), which the team can get up to $2.8 million in 2022. The next issue is if they replace Russell as a DP with Macias, can they still have three U-22 Initiative players?
The answer is yes. Macias himself won’t count as a U-22 player because he turns 23 this season, but he would qualify as a Young DP. If the third DP spot can either be bought down (Russell) or is a Young DP (Macias), SKC can still have three U-22 signings (presumably Ndenbe, Voloder and Tzionis). That would mean Macias would only count as $200,000 against the salary cap, which is actually below the $250,000 in money the team gets to replace Pulido in budget relief.
Overall, assuming there is truth to the rumor, this sounds like Sporting KC are all in on 2022. Macias has had his struggles in Spain, but obviously MLS is an easier league and Sporting KC are usually near the top of the table while Getafe are fighting a relegation battle. Surround him with Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi and Gadi Kinda and you’ve got a lot of guys picking the young Mexican up.
The Blue Testament will bring you much more on this move as it comes up.