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MLS blocks Red Bulls bid for Kandji

The Red Bulls’ quest to sign Macoumba Kandji this season has ended, with Major League Soccer pulling the plug on the potential $200,000 transfer bid for the 23-year-old Senegalese striker.

According to sources with knowledge of the transfer discussions, the New York Red Bulls have ceased their quest to sign the Atlanta Silverbacks striker after Major League Soccer officials balked at allowing an MLS team pay a $200,000 transfer fee for a USL player.

Atlanta’s insistence on a $200,000 transfer fee, an extremely high figure for a USL player but one Atlanta felt was fair value for such a young and talented forward, was the sticking point that MLS couldn’t get beyond. This despite the fact that the Red Bulls were willing to pay Atlanta’s asking price.

The Red Bulls secured the necessary funds to pay the asking price for Kandji when it traded goalkeeper Zach Thornton to Chivas USA for an allocation worth approximately $75,000, only to have MLS officials step in and determine that paying such a high price for a USL player would set a dangerous precedent for MLS. The issue was not the transfer fee itself, as MLS teams are allowed to pay transfer fees as long as the fees are paid using allocation funds.

The Red Bulls are still testing the MLS trade waters in their search for a speedy forward, but the wide-open playoff race has most teams reluctant to make any trades at this point in the year. The Red Bulls may wind up adding Gambian Sainey Touray, who has been on trial with the Red Bulls. The club is also looking at Crystal Palace Baltimore speedster Matthew Mbuta, a Cameroon-born winger/midfielder who looked very impressive in Crystal Palace’s U.S. Open Cup upset win against the Red Bulls on July 2nd.

It’s time for a poll. What do you think of the way MLS handled the Kandji transfer situation?

What’s my take? I think it’s a pretty sad statement that MLS would block the Red Bulls from making a $200,000 transfer purchase just a few months after the league profited greatly from selling Red Bulls star Jozy Altidore for a reported $10 million. Something needs to change in the way the league does things because it’s a bit absurd for a small office of a handful of officials to be responsible for what 14 professional teams do.

What do you think of MLS’ decision? Like it? Hate it? Think it’s time for the league’s single-entity structure to go away? Think MLS needs to loosen its restrictions on personnel moves?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I used to work for the No Fun League. Funny, eh?

    Btw, no truth to the rumor I am a plant to screw up any potential competition …

  2. That’s why nobody cares about MLS. Because the FO and Garber try to run everything. In order to be like the european teams, you have to go and learn how their systems work. Thank god for the NFL.

  3. For those unfamiliar with USL, this may seem to be a bad move. However, I would most definitely take the same stand if I were in the front office of MLS…but maybe not for the same reasons. The USL would use this to the ‘n’th degree to legitimize themselves. It is in their plans to start using the ‘foreign’ connections to help them milk the MLS of more $$$ for their players by playing the two sides off each other. In fact, I would expect underhanded tactics to ensure that the MLS thinks someone else will pay higher just to get MLS to up the ante.

    I can assure you USL is telling all potential owners that Nike is planning to make their league into THE premiere level league in the US. This is supposedly because Adidas has MLS and Nike doesn’t like it.

    So, in order to get owners to fork over the franchise fees to support an entirely too large league office which does little to support it’s owners, they have been ‘lying’ to them for years.

    If you think the MLS front office is full of cheaters and liars and generally disgusting people…you ain’t seen nothin till you open the USL door.

    Their favoritism towards teams and willingness to look the other way when teams break the rules is ridiculous. If your owner or coach is an old friend of Marcos, then you’ve got it made. If your owner flies Marcos overseas to watch ‘real’ soccer games, then you’ve got it made. If your owner is just trying to help guys find their footing in the pro scene and develop them in hopes of getting them to bigger and better things………then, unless you meet one of the previous criteria, you can be assured the league will do everything it can to try to make you fail. After all, they’ve been getting the dough from you and will get the franchise fees and dough from someone else when you are gone.

    So, while it may seems that the MLS is beign dumb and it will pan out to bad PR, in the long run, the league should ditch the single entity structure and let teams pay their players what they want under a salary cap and crush the USL wannabes. The true USL owners would move to MLS if they did away with single entity bs and the exhorbent franchise fee.

    But, until the MLS makes changes and turns this league into what it should be…then USL will hang around. IF MLS would make the changes, then USL would be ‘really’ relegated to the second or third level league that it really is….front office wise anyway.


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