KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Five days into the preseason transfer window, Sporting Kansas City could be calling off their search for overseas help.
A few hours after midnight on Wednesday, just as Europe was heading into its business day, Sporting CEO Robb Heineman tweeted the following:
Unless something dramatic happens in the next two days, we will not be announcing a DP in this window.#SportingKC— Robb Heineman (@RobbHeineman) January 25, 2012
That message brings an apparent end to a well-concealed series of negotiations that, despite soccer’s raging rumor machine, never got anywhere close to the confirmation stage.
The club had been linked to former Real Madrid midfielder Guti late last year, and on Jan. 7 Heineman tweeted that he was “lamenting injuries in Spain.” Guti has not played since the end of the 2010-11 season, though, after being let go by Turkish side Besiktas JK.
A day later, Heineman tweeted that Sporting were in talks with a 20-year-old attacking player from Europe, but acknowledged that a signing would be a “long shot.”
And while Sporting’s roster appears solid even with forward Omar Bravo’s return to Mexico and the release of oft-injured Brazilian midfielder Jéferson, the club has allocation money to spend and could use a true No. 10 in the lineup to share the creative burden with midfielder Graham Zusi.
Still, manager Peter Vermes said earlier this week that his side would be in good shape even if he had to stand pat until the summer transfer window.
“If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” Vermes said Monday, as Sporting opened its training camp. “I’m very comfortable with the players we have. I think we’ve made some solid additions to the group we already had, and now it’s about getting them in form and working together.”
The international transfer window for MLS opened Saturday and runs through April 15.
Time off for USMNT trio
When Sporting KC’s three US national team call-ups return from Wednesday night’s friendly in Panama, Vermes won’t rush them into training.
Zusi and forward Teal Bunbury both started in last Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Venezuela, and forward C.J. Sapong made his international debut as a sub for Zusi. All three are also available for the Panama game.
“I’m going to give them time off until we go to Tucson,” said Vermes, whose team departs next week for Arizona. “They’ve been going pretty hard for quite some time, and I don’t want to bother them. I’ve already told them not to even show up, just to stay home and relax. Once we get down there, I’ll re-evaluate and maybe give them a day off here or there as well.”
Vermes isn’t worried about the three having to play catch-up, though.
“They’re ahead of our guys, and they’ve already played a game,” he said. “It’s going to be important for myself and the rest of the staff to really monitor them and make sure they don’t over train.”