The Columbus Crew are saying they plan to keep Kei Kamara. Reports are saying the opposite.
It is a messy situation all around for a club that already has enough problems.
The Crew have dominated headlines since the weekend due to Kamara’s public outburst against teammate Federico Higuain following a 4-4 draw with the Montreal Impact. Kamara went off on Higuain through the media after the two players argued over who should take a penalty kick that was eventually taken and scored by Higuain, and the 31-year-old striker doubled down on his frustrated stance at practice on Tuesday after it was revealed that he had been suspended for a game by the club.
While head coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters on Tuesday that the Crew were looking to keep Kamara on their roster, he admitted that teams were calling in to inquire about the Sierra Leonean ahead of Wednesday’s primary transfer window deadline.
It might be challenging to find a suitor or deal that works for the Crew in such a short timeframe, but there are a number of teams that could use the athletic striker who scored a league-best 22 goals last year.
Here is a look at some clubs that would make sense for Kamara as a possible destination:
The Fire are once again dead-last in the MLS overall standings, and have scored just seven goals through seven games. The club could certainly use a boost up top, but would have to free up a DP spot to bring Kamara on board because forwards Kennedy Igboananike, Gilberto, and David Accam are currently making over the maximum amount permitted in the salary cap. Kamara could be a good fit here, though the Fire might need more than just him to make a serious push up the standings.
The cellar dweller in the Western Conference, the Dynamo are also in need of improving their roster. Yes, they have one of the best goal-scoring attacks in the league right now with 16 goals through nine games, but Kamara would give them a target forward that could really complement the likes of Giles Barnes and Andrew Wenger. The club has an open Designated Player spot available, but could opt to dangle seldom-used DP Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres in a trade.
The Whitecaps have found their scoring touch a bit late, but could still use a reliable scorer up front. None of the club’s forwards have more than one goal, and that lack of production has simply cannot continue if the Whitecaps are to make the playoffs. The problem for them, however, is that they would have to free up a DP spot. The three current ones are filled by Pedro Morales, Matias Laba, and struggling forward Octavio Rivero.
It might not seem like a good idea to pair Kamara with another Argentine attacker in Fabian Espindola who likes to lead the way, but D.C. United could certainly afford to become a more dangerous and deeper team. Kamara would give the D.C. a deadly threat, especially on the set pieces that they tend to rely on so much, and he might fare well playing off of Espindola. The two of them could form a dangerous DP duo if they were to get on the same page.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Another team like D.C. United with two Designated Player slots available, the Revolution have been haunted at times this season by inaccurate finishing. The club has a bevy of forward options at its disposal, including Juan Agudelo, Charlie Davies, and Teal Bunbury, but none of them have proven to be all that deadly in front of goal this year. Any of them could be included in a trade, which might make the Crew more willing to deal Kamara to an Eastern Conference team. A major question that remains is whether the Revolution would willing to pay Kamara’s salary given that they have been historically cheap.
ATLANTA UNITED FC
While Atlanta United FC will not begin playing in MLS until next year, the club could do worse than adding a forward like Kamara to its initial roster. Atlanta United would have to loan him out to another team this season in order to keep him sharp and fit for 2017, but could send him to any number of NASL, USL, or foreign sides. What is less ideal than that is that Atlanta United FC would hire a coach after signing Kamara, and there is also is the fact that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is a former U.S. Men’s National Team captain who knows the importance of having positive attitudes in the locker room.