KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It came down to the deadline, but Sporting Kansas City managed to sneak in a signing with minutes to spare before the close of the transfer window last Friday.
Kansas City added French defender Aurélien Collin with less than an hour remaining in the winter window, giving manager Peter Vermes another defensive option despite the fact that, at one point, the deal was nearly abandoned.
“At the final minutes, we were still negotiating a deal,” Vermes said. “It was on, it was off, it was on, it was off.”
In the end, the deal was completed after Collin’s dispute with Portuguese club Vitória Setubal was resolved – in large part thanks to assistance from the Portuguese players union – allowing Kansas City to pick up the well-traveled 25-year-old without paying a fee.
“At the end of the day, it was an issue between him and Vitória,” Vermes said. “We never got in the middle of it, nor did we want to, until that was the right business practice. At the end, once it had escalated to where it did, it only made sense for us to get involved. At the end of the day, it made sense for both parties.”
Collin will join Kansas City’s roster once he receives his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and will take up an international roster spot. Vermes said he expected Collin to be available for Saturday’s matchup with New England at Gillette Stadium.
The signing was the culmination of months of effort. Kansas City identified Collin as a target early last fall, and Vermes and assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin watched him play for Setubal last November on a scouting trip in Europe.
Though he has been billed as a central defender, Vermes said Collin was versatile enough to play a number of positions across the back line and in midfield. At 6-foot-2 with an imposing frame, he should also be comfortable with the rough-and-tumble nature of Major League Soccer.
“I just think he’s tailor-made for this league with the qualities that he has,” Vermes said. “He can play three positions; central defender, right back and defensive midfield. He is incredibly experienced in the places that he’s been and the number of team’s that he’s played with.”