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Sporting KC president confesses “strong possibility” Matt Besler could be Europe-bound

Jul 3, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 16: Matt Besler of the United States challenges Jordan Ayew of Ghana during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Ghana and the United States at Estadio das Dunas on June 16, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. Getty Images

Matt Besler hasn’t even returned to the field for Sporting Kansas City, but Robb Heineman’s already facing the prospect of losing him. After his captain’s strong World Cup with the United States, the Sporting CEO has received calls from “leagues all over the world,” forcing him to come to grips with the possibility of losing one of Major League Soccer’s elite defenders.

According to reporting by The Kansas City Star, Heineman has described that possibility as “strong,” with Besler’s agent saying the move could happened “probably within the next 10 days.”

Not only did Sporting get hard done by the World Cup, but they’re about to pay the price in the aftermath.

From The Star:

[Agent Eddie] Rock said Besler is weighing three options regarding his future — sign an extension with Sporting Kansas City, transfer to a club in the English Premier League or transfer to a club in Bundesliga …

“If Matt re-signs with the league now, his intentions would be to be a one-club player for the rest of his career. His goal would be to finish atop Sporting and the Wizards in all-time appearances and longest captaincy. He would try to build a dynasty there,” Rock said …

Heineman said he has already received terms sheets with official transfer fee offers from European clubs …

Rock said one of his client’s motivations would be to test himself against higher competition – to see if his game can continue to grow. The other obvious benefit financial. Even if Sporting is willing to beat the $1.25 million package the Galaxy gave to Omar Gonzalez last year, Besler may be able to earn more by jumping to Europe. He’s only making $200,000 now.

At 27 years old, Besler’s stock may never be higher. Not only is he coming off a strong performance on the sport’s biggest stage, but a club that buys now can expect to get some return on their investment, should Besler perform well over the next two seasons. If Besler passes up this chance with hopes of moving in the future, that small age increase could hurt teams’ chances to sell him on.

But that’s probably not even a factor in the decision. The underlying question, in the face of what seems to be at least two decent offers, is whether Besler wants to leave at all. As Rock says later in The Star’s piece, if Besler turns down this offer, it will be with the intention of being a on- club man. He’ll want to break the team’s games played records and help build a dynasty along that Kansas-Missouri border.

Not that Sporting can’t do that without Besler. Obviously, he’s the known commodity, but given the money Besler is likely to command, the reigning champions should have a healthy chunk of change to try and fill the hole. Factor in his age, contract status (1.5 years left), quality and demand, you’re probably looking at a fee of somewhere near $4-$6 million, two-thirds of which would go straight into Sporting’s coffers.

All of which may be beside the point. Sporting wants Besler to stay. The question now: Can they convince him to do so?

  1. talgrath - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    While Sporting KC is one of the bigger clubs in MLS, I’m not sure they can match Omar Gonzalez’s salary, or want to. If Besler is getting 7 figure offers I think he’ll head overseas.

    • jslip1 - Jul 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      I wonder, though, if the reworking of the CBA could allow for more money for him and other players of his caliber considering the growth of the league.

      • talgrath - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:34 AM

        Well keep in mind, if they make Besler a DP, they can give him pretty much as much cash as they like. The issue is whether KC actually wants to give him that cash, most teams are treading water or are in the red, still; so any money to pay him would come from the owner’s pockets. Alternatively, KC and MLS can get a big pile of money for Besler, the portion that goes to KC is “allocation money” that can be splurged on another player. So basically the question comes down to this, is Besler worth more to KC than the money they are offered? If Kei Kamara is any way to gauge this, no, no he isn’t.

  2. dkalev - Jul 4, 2014 at 4:50 AM

    Haha… Another reason the mls won’t really grow, no champions league football and not nearly as much money as the big leagues… Anytime anyone is good or shows promise, off they go overseas… At best, the mls can be the us equivalent of the Brazilian league

    • classicalfje - Jul 4, 2014 at 5:37 AM

      It’s already as good as the Championship and League 1 in Enlgand to be honest. You are right though, because it isn’t the most popular sport in this country, big investers don’t throw a ton of money at it, so it probably won’t be as wealthy as a league as European leagues. Then again, joint owners of the New York Yankees and Manchester City FC are fielding an MLS club in a few years time, which will include a lot of dollars.

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