UPDATE: Wednesday, 10 pm ET: Kamara was spotted signing documents for Chinese Super League club Shenzhen FC.
UPDATE: Tuesday, 2 pm ET: The LA Galaxy announced that the club will fulfill Ola Kamara's request to travel to China ahead of a transfer to the Chinese Super League. The Galaxy did not reveal which club.
“Ola has expressed to us his intention to pursue opportunities elsewhere and we have identified an option that would greatly benefit our club financially," general manager Dennis te Kloese said in a club statement. "We believe that this decision was needed to improve and balance our roster while granting Ola’s request. The transfer would allow us to achieve the best solution for addressing our needs both now and in the future.”
The Athletic’s Kristian Dyer reported late on Monday night that Kamara “could be on the move” to China or to an Eastern Conference club via trade. The LA Times’ Kevin Baxter reported later Monday that LA are allowing Kamara to speak to a club in China and that a deal is “relatively close.”
The source confirmed that Kamara’s desire for a higher salary prompted the potential deal. If the transfer is completed, the source said that the Galaxy would receive a significant transfer fee in exchange for the Norwegian.
The Galaxy acquired Kamara from Columbus Crew SC last January in exchange for $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and forward Gyasi Zardes. LA sent an additional $100,000 in TAM to the Crew after Kamara cleared 12 goals in the regular season. The 29-year-old signed a three-year deal with LA last April. According to the MLS Players Association, he made $925,000 in 2018. Kamara ended the season with 14 goals and three assists in 31 league matches as LA failed to make the playoffs for the second season in a row.
As is the case with all non-Homegrown, Generation adidas or SuperDraft players, the Galaxy wouldn’t receive the full transfer fee if Kamara is sold. LA would recoup the out-of-pocket cash payment they made to Kamara of just over $420,000 last season. They’d then receive 75 percent of the rest of his fee, with the remaining 25 percent going to MLS. The source said that if Kamara is sold, it’d create “a couple of million dollars” in budget space for LA between his salary coming off the books and the transfer fee the club would receive.
The source also pointed out that the Kamara discussions are unrelated to the LA Galaxy’s Designated Player conundrum. The Galaxy currently have four DPs on the books in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini. MLS clubs can only have three Designated Players by the roster compliance deadline prior to the start of the season on Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com reported last month that the Galaxy were attempting to restructure Giovani dos Santos’ contract so that they could use TAM to buy him down from his current status as a DP. Dos Santos’ current contract is set to pay him $6 million this season and will expire at the end of 2019. In order to be bought down with TAM, dos Santos would have to accept a new deal in which his salary budget charge could be no more than $1.5 million in 2019. There’s been no official announcement on the Galaxy’s DP situation, but sources around the league have repeatedly told MLSsoccer.com over the last several weeks that they expect dos Santos to be return and not be a DP in 2019.
The Galaxy will open the 2019 season at home against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.