On Sunday, ESPN broke two rumored Sporting Kansas City signings. With time having passed to let the initial rumor settle in, it’s time to take a deeper look at Erik Thommy and how he could fit in with Sporting KC.
Thommy is a German midfielder who is 27-years-old. His contract expires at the end of this month and he’d be available on a free transfer. In his career, which stretches back to his youth days in 2010, he’s scored 51 goals and added 34 assists. He’s a right-footed player that seems to primarily line up on the left side of the pitch.
Taylor Twellman reported that this would be a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) signing, meaning he would make at least $612,500 (pro-rated) for 2022.
Erik has spent his entire career, both youth and professional, in Germany. He moved around several academies before breaking through with Augsburg from their U17s, through Augsburg II and to the first team during the 2014-15 season. Augsburg sent him out on a series of loans before selling him for a reported $825,000 to VfB Stuttgart, his most recent club. Stuttgart also loaned him out for a reported $550,000 loan fee to 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf.
While pinging around Germany, he’s often not been a consistent starter. Since turning pro, he only has two seasons with significant minutes played: 2016-17 and 2019-20. In the 2021-22 season, he played 282 minutes in all competitions with no goals and a single assist.
Position & Highlights
According to Transfermarkt, Thommy has played all over the attack as a wide midfielder, central midfielder, winger and even a little time at striker. However, the vast majority of his appearances seem to be at left midfielder or left winger.
The only two highlight packages I could find all about Thommy were from five or more years ago. They mostly show him operating wide left, as mentioned above. It’s the space you’d expect Daniel Salloi, or potentially in the future, Marinos Tzionis to operate in.
However, he did show a nice propensity to make some slick passes and take right-footed set pieces. It’s possible Vermes believes he could tuck inside and play that left #8 role, but Taylor Twellman described this as a signing for 2023. Maybe that’s a future without Salloi, who will be out of contract after this season.
As mentioned above, it’s unclear where Erik Thommy would line up on the field. However, there is also a question of how both he and fellow rumored signing William Agada would fit into the roster. The team currently has only one available international roster spot due to placing Gadi Kinda on the season ending injury list. As I see it, that leaves the team with one of two options:
Put Pulido on the SEI List
Alan Pulido hasn’t played a minute in 2022 and back in January was deemed to “likely” be out for the season. Moving him onto the season ending injury list won’t give any budgetary relief, but it would clear up his roster spot.
Trade, Transfer or Release a Player
The other six international players are: Andreu Fontas, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Logan Ndenbe, Robert Voloder, Marinos Tzionis and Nikola Vujnovic. While it’s not impossible someone like Fontas could be gone as he’s in a contract year and CB is a position of depth, I like the idea of The Blue Testament community member Andy Wacker — terminate Vujnovic’s loan. He’s mostly been hurt since arriving and simply hasn’t worked out. Agada appears to play his same position and his move presumably would be permanent versus just the loan Vujnovic is on.
One thing most Sporting KC fans like to keep an eye on with their new signings is how often they are available. SKC have had a rash of injuries, not just this year, but most years. When a player is available on a free transfer, it can raise some eyebrows.
Thommy’s injury history is littered with absences. This season he was out three months with a “pelvic obliquity,” whatever that is. That caused him to miss 12 games. In the previous season, he missed a combined 19 games primarily for an elbow injury, but also because of a hip flexor problem. Prior to that, he’s missed time here or there, but nothing as significant as the last two seasons.
That does give some pause to the potential of this signing. There are guys with injury history that have been great for Kansas City when healthy (Felipe Gutierrez, Alan Pulido, Andreu Fontas), but there are way too many instances of them not being healthy. On the other hand, Sporting have a history of reclamation projects (Ike Opara, Kortne Ford), that have mostly worked out.
So what do you think? Would you sign Thommy? I’ve said the biggest need is striker and the Agada signing would seemingly address that. After that, defensive midfielder seems like a higher priority, though the complete lack of forwards is killing this team in 2022.
If Thommy can play in the midfield and someone like Remi Walter or Felipe Hernandez can play the #6 for the time being, then that might be okay. But Thommy seems to overlap positions with Salloi and/or Tzionis, which is interesting. Then again, I didn’t understand the Walter signing before 2021 and he’s probably the team’s best midfielder now (at least until Kinda comes back next year).