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Rumor: Sporting KC Linked to Italian Center Back

28-year-old Federico Barba is being rumored to be coming to Sporting Kansas City from Benevento.

Ascoli v Benevento - Serie B Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Around the world, many transfer windows are currently open to bring players in to bolster a team. The same is true in Major League Soccer (MLS), who remain in their secondary transfer window until August 4th. While much of Europe are in their primary transfer window and are making moves in preparation for the start of their season, teams in MLS are strengthening their rosters for an MLS Cup Playoff run, or in the case of Sporting Kansas City, possibly looking to next season.

The latest ‘silly season’ rumor comes via Gianluca Di Marzio, who is a big journalist when it comes to Italian football. He is reporting that Federico Barba, a 28-year-old left-footed center back who currently plays in Serie B for Benevento, is linked to two MLS teams: Sporting KC and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Numerous other outlets are reporting this potential move as well, but it’s unclear if it’s original reporting or if they are just picking up Di Marzio’s story (some cite Di Marzio). Let’s break down the tidbits we’ve picked up between these stories.

First, Transfermarkt has that Barba is signed through the summer of 2023, so a transfer fee would be necessary. One report has that fee at €800,000 (~$816,000 USD). Since transfer fees can be pro-rated over the life of the deal and reports having it as a three-year deal (probably 3.5 if he comes during this window), the fee shouldn’t be an issue to keep him on a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) or lower deal and avoid the Designated Player tag. His TM value is $1.54 million, but it doesn’t say his current wages. Almost surely he’s no higher than a TAM player.

In addition to the two MLS sides, there are at least three Italian clubs interested in acquiring Barba according to these rumors. U.C. Sampdoria (Serie A), Pisa (Serie B) and Cagliari (Serie B). So part of it probably comes down to where Barba wants to play. It’s pure speculation, but his Instagram has quite a few pictures with a young child (presumably his daughter) but no wife/girlfriend. If he’s not with his child’s mother (pure speculation, I have no idea), he may not want to move across an ocean.

The Blue Testament will dive deeper into the Barba rumor after this all important US Open Cup game. Look for that, including some promising highlights, later in the week.

Update 7/28/22: It looks like, as we speculated, Barba wants to stay in Italy.