Let's just be super literal and to the point about this:
- The best year of Krisztian Nemeth's career came with Sporting KC
- Sporting did the right thing to sell high
- Nemeth's return to MLS made a lot of sense
- Returning to MLS to play for the New England Revolution – who already had a bunch of strikers when he was acquired – didn't
- The Revs paid a bunch ($200k of GAM, $200k of TAM) to acquire him last summer
- ROI was minimal
- New England nonetheless did well to flip him on Monday, back to SKC, for $350k in total allocation cash ($250k TAM, $100k GAM) and a first round pick – basically a wash in terms of outlay, as well as clearing a max salary hit off the books
- SKC needed a striker
New England absolutely did not need to trade up in the allocation order to get Nemeth last year, and I still think it's weird they did, but at least he didn't depreciate that much as an asset. This is good work for them in mostly erasing the mistake they made 12 months ago.
For Nemeth, it was a wasted year but now he's going back to his happy place, and given that Peter Vermes is still the coach, and SKC are still a pressing team, and SKC badly need a goalscoring center forward... this is a win for the Revs, and win for Sporting, and a win for the player himself.
And it leaves me with only one issue: I described Nemeth above as "a goalscoring center forward," which is what I think he projects as right now for SKC. He's played as a No. 9 in the past at several of his various stops on his career, including with the Revs. It's the area of biggest need for this team, and he seems to fill it.
But three years ago, when he had that "best season of his career," he did so not as a goalscoring center forward, but as a very goal-oriented winger. He probably played 90 percent of his minutes out wide, and I just can't imagine that's in his immediate future after this move. Daniel Salloi is the starter on one wing, and Johnny Russell's on the other, and that's not going to change.
So while Nemeth's returning to the place where he was best, he's probably not returning to the position where he was best.
My guess is it ends up being a snug fit regardless. Lest we all forget...
Nemeth's pretty damn good. Or he was, anyway – and Sporting are betting he can be again.