Ola Kamara - Justin Meram - Columbus Crew SC - celebrate a goal


Four sources have confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that star attackers Justin Meram and Ola Kamara have both asked to be moved by Columbus Crew SC this offseason.

While the uncertainty around the club's future was a factor in both players' decisions to request a trade or transfer, according to the sources, it was not the only factor.

Kamara’s desire for a new contract – he made $482,500 in 2017 according to the MLS Players' Union – also played a role in his asking out of Ohio. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported that the striker wanted a new deal over the summer, and Jeff Rueter reported in December that the 28-year-old was being targeted by the LA Galaxy. It’s worth noting that the Washington Post’s Steve Goff reported in December that Crew SC were interested in the Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes.

The sources said that the 29-year-old Meram, who signed a new deal with Crew SC last March, is seeking a new challenge, not a new contract.

While both players have made their desire to leave Columbus clear, whether they depart Crew SC is another matter. Both have multiple years left on their contracts, and the sources said that Columbus are asking for a high price for each, which may ultimately include a combination of players or allocation money. Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter indicated as much in a statement emailed by Crew SC to MLSsoccer.com on Friday morning.

“Both Ola and Justin play an important role in our competitive ambitions for 2018. However, every club must evaluate opportunities to strengthen their roster and heighten their player’s professional development. Any offer for Justin or Ola would have to significantly benefit the club considering they are two of the most productive offensive players in the league and have multiple years remaining on their contracts with Crew SC,” Berhalter said.

The sources said that Columbus, who used Targeted Allocation Money to re-sign Meram last year, are looking for a package similar to the $1 million in guaranteed allocation money that Atlanta traded Portland for Darlington Nagbe earlier this offseason in exchange for Meram.

Kamara’s European prospects are better due to his European passport and status as a Norwegian national team player, but the sources said Columbus would be looking for a significant transfer fee from any club looking to acquire him.