All offseason it seems Sporting Kansas City has been needing to make a center back signing. They didn’t turn the roster over very significantly, but they did lose two center backs in Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Kaveh Rad, who have both found new clubs. That has left SKC with just three players who are natural center backs: Andreu Fontas, Kortne Ford and Robert Voloder.
While Peter Vermes indicated new defensive midfield signing Nemanja Radoja can play there, hopefully something is coming soon in terms of an announcement.
Which brings us to another rumor. Two sources, A Bola and Gelderlander, are reporting that Portuguese center back Francisco Reis Ferreira, more commonly known as Ferro, is being linked to Kansas City and to Ligue 1 side, Montpellier.
Transfermarkt has him listed as being under contract through next summer, though A Bola says that his contract will be terminated. However, analyst and scout Juan Carlos Rodriguez dos Santos, is stating that his current club Benfica, want €2 million (~$2.18m USD) for him.
Ferro, también central, está cedido en el Vitesse, pero lleva semanas sin ser convocado. Benfica quiere venderlo por 2M€, hay interés de Kansas City y Montpellier entre otros. Liberaría otra plaza de cedidos, máximo 8 por nuevo reglamento FIFA. Mucha actividad en el mercado.— Juan Carlos Rodríguez dos Santos (@juancarlosrds) January 25, 2023
A Little Background
Ferro is a right-footed CB who is currently out on loan at Vitesse, but with the new rules in Europe, teams can only have eight players on loan so recalling and selling/releasing a player that doesn’t get used could make sense. Ferro has 10 appearances in all competitions for Vitesse this season, and it’s his third stop on a seemingly unending loan tour that he’s been on.
While he came up in the Benfica youth system, he’s spent a significant amount of his time as a professional out on loan in the last few years, though he has most of his minutes in Portugal. His loans stops included Valencia (Spain), then at Hajduk Split (Croatia) and finally at Vitesse (Netherlands). His loan is set to expire this summer. He’s also spent significant time in the Portugal youth national team setup but has no senior caps to his name.
Another interesting tidbit is that he was valued at as much as €18m at one point but is showing a value of €2.5 now, though those values can be a little shaky.
Ferro is still just 25-years-old and seemingly in search of playing time.
Does it Make Sense for Sporting KC?
Not knowing how he plays, which I’ll trust the scouts have looked for a fit on that front (though I’ve got some promising highlights below), the team absolutely needs a player who is capable of starting at CB. With only three on the roster, Kansas City would be a single injury away from no depth and a couple away from disaster. When players like Fontas and Ford have significant injury histories, it’s not a chance I’d want to take.
In most seasons SKC roll with five center backs, so assuming one of the trialists makes the cut, or PV sees Radoja has the fifth option, that still requires a fourth option. Preferrably one of this caliber that can push for a starting job.
If he’s coming on a free transfer or a large fee makes a big difference to how he can fit in the budget. If he’s free and the team thinks he fits, they could sign him all the way up to the max Targeted Allocation Money and not complicate their roster like adding a true Designated Player.
If they pay a couple million for him, it gets really messy to make him fit and not move on from someone else. I’m also personally not a fan of spending DP money on a center back. The most successful teams just tend not to do it. If they hit, it’d probably be fine, but if they miss on the signing, it could be a disaster.
I do like that he’s younger though, which is a change in SKC’s recent targets from abroad who have trended towards upper 20s or later. Ferro should be in the prime of his career, or just entering his prime.
Highlights from defenders are always kind of weird. This does show a few impressive goals, several with his head but even a long banger. He has scored 12 times in his career.
It also shows some good positioning and strong tackles, as well as some solid passing (that long ball over the top at the end!). What I don’t like is he is going to ground a lot to make tackles. It feels like a real chance to look spectacular or make a disastrously bad play. I much prefer a well-positioned standing tackle (which there were plenty of) than a slide which screams “out of position” to me.
What do you all think of Ferro? Seem like a good fit? Would you only take him on a free? Are you open to a fee? Let’s discuss in the comments below!