KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Roger Espinoza's short-range forecast is clear enough: Sporting Kansas City's Honduran midfielder won't be making the trip to New York this weekend as he continues to recover from a sprained right ankle, but is expected to be back in time for the regular-season finale and what Sporting hope is a long playoff run.
After that, Espinoza's future remains unsettled. His contract is up at the end of the season, and reports of a winter move to England surfaced again this week.
The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, reported on Monday that Espinoza had agreed to terms with Wigan Athletic and would sign with the Premier League side once the next transfer window opens.
Espinoza, who has said he would be open to a move abroad if the right situation presented itself, did not train with Sporting on Thursday. But manager Peter Vermes, who is also Kansas City's technical director, responded to the latest report exactly as he has since the rumors first started this summer.
“I'm not asking him whether he has an offer from somebody because that's his business,” Vermes said during the team's weekly news conference. “It's not mine. It would be my business if they were coming to me to try to buy him, but he doesn't have to do that right now – so it's not part of the context. The point is that when it's time for him to make a decision, I'm sure I'm going to hear directly from him.”
Vermes also said that the club had made what he termed a “very, very good offer” to the World Cup veteran and London Olympics star, but did not say whether that offer included a Designated Player tag and commensurate pay grade.
“I know what conversations I've had with Roger, and that is that we're going to talk at the end of the season,” Vermes said. “He knows where we sit. He has, obviously, a lot to think about. He's going to concentrate on the rest of the season, and so are we. When we get to that point, we'll discuss whatever that is. I believe that we've made a very, very good offer, and now it's about at the end of the season, he'll make a decision on how that fits into his world.”
Espinoza sprained his right ankle late in Sporting's 1-1 draw at Columbus on Oct. 7. He missed Honduras' two World Cup qualifiers over the international break and will be out for the Red Bulls match on Saturday (7 pm ET; watch LIVE online), but Vermes said he should be available when Sporting host Philadelphia on Wednesday to close out the regular season.
“We were shooting for the game this weekend, but Roger and I talked today and decided it's probably best if he waits until the Philadelphia game,” Vermes said. “That gives him a few more days. He ran yesterday. He's feeling good, but we don't want to push it. There's no sense in pushing it to try to get ready for this game.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.