In 2022, Sporting Kansas City have struggled. Also struggling, halfway around the world, is Venezia FC, who Sporting KC sold Homegrown midfielder Gianluca Busio to last year. A lot of fans have looked at that sale as one of the big reasons SKC have gone downhill. There is no denying this team is better with Busio on it, but that’s not the reason KC have slipped.
Regardless, fans want Busio back. That only heated up as Venezia were relegated from Serie A to Serie B in Italy for the 2022-23 season. Rumblings of a return climbed higher when Busio was back in KC this past weekend. Speculation reached a fever pitch when Tom Bogert reported there was a relegation release clause in Busio’s contract last week.
That clause allows Gianluca Busio to leave on a free loan this summer. Meaning, no compensation would need to be paid by the team that acquires him other than 100 percent of his salary. However, I’m here to tell you why this is very unlikely to happen.
Strong Interest in Europe
First and foremost is that Busio just left last summer and I doubt he wants to leave Europe so quickly, even on a short-term loan. Bogert is reporting, “Busio is already getting plenty of interest from clubs across Serie A, the Bundesliga, La Liga and elsewhere.” Obviously the Serie A teams have seen him play, and the Bundesliga and La Liga are top five leagues as well and full of good potential landing spots.
So even if Busio was ‘home’ sick (he’s not from KC, though he lived there for many years), he’ll probably want to keep plying his trade in Europe.
Let’s do a thought experiment for a second and say Busio does want to return to Kansas City. If he did, he’d have to go through the MLS Allocation Order. Since Busio was sold for a fee north of $500,000 he would be subject to this process to return to Major League Soccer. Also, even if he didn’t leave for a fee, as a United States Men’s National Team player, he’d likely be subject to it anyways.
As of this writing, KC are 19th in the Allocation Order. Meaning they’d have to trade assets, most likely General Allocation Money (GAM), to move up the list. There have been some big trades already to climb the list and they’ve been costly. Real Salt Lake executed two trades totaling $475,000 to bring back Jefferson Savarino most recently. The New York Red Bulls spent heavily to get back Caden Clark, and that’s just on loan (much like Busio would be).
This is all without accounting for fitting his new salary into the salary budget. However, it should be said, if Busio really wants to come, MLS will make it work.
So while it’s not impossible, it’s very, very unlikely this happens. This all isn’t to say Busio doesn’t come ‘home’ some day. Sporting KC have a history of bringing guys back later in their career. But it’s not happening anytime soon, though that doesn’t mean Sporting KC won’t be making a move when the Secondary Transfer Window opens in July.
Peter Vermes told the media earlier in the season that the team will be active in the secondary window after the news that Gadi Kinda was out for the season. There has only been one rumor so far, but let’s hope either that move happens or more rumors start to sprout up.