Multiple Major League Soccer teams looking to upgrade their left back positions have set their sights on a player with a proven track record in the league, though he won’t come cheap.
Anderlecht left back and former New York Red Bull Kemar Lawrence has a handful of MLS teams lining up to acquire him, sources have confirmed to SBI. The Belgian giants, who acquired Lawrence from the Red Bulls in January of 2020 for $1.25 million, are seeking a fee between $1.25 million and $1.5 million for Lawrence, who sources tell SBI is open to a return to MLS.
At least two teams, one Western Conference and one Eastern Conference team, have emerged as contenders for Lawrence’s services, and sources tell SBI that FC Cincinnati was an early contender to acquire Lawrence, but eventually switched gears and instead traded for Ronald Matarrita from New York City FC.
One team that won’t be adding Lawrence is the Red Bulls, who sold Lawrence after he submitted a trade request due to unhappiness with his contract status. That request led the Red Bulls to expedite a sale rather than trading him directly to an MLS rival despite receiving several trade inquiries.
The 28-year-old Jamaican international was one of the best defenders in MLS during his five seasons with the Red Bulls. Lawrence earned MLS Best XI honors in 2018 as a key figure on a Red Bulls defense that was the best in MLS, and a unit that helped the Red Bulls win the 2018 Supporters’ Shield.
As SBI reported in December, Lawrence qualifies as a free agent within MLS, and is no longer on the MLS Allocation List, meaning teams do not have to trade up to the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order to sign him despite the fact he left MLS via transfer. It also means that Lawrence can ultimately control where he goes within MLS.
Lawrence has settled in as a consistent starter at left back for Anderlecht, playing in a defense that includes fellow Red Bulls alumni Matt Miazga and Michael Murillo.
The MLS primary transfer window does not close until May, so a Lawrence return could take some time to materialize, but what is clear is that at least two unidentified MLS teams have stepped forward to try and land Lawrence.
Which teams do you see making sense as a destination for Lawrence? Would you like your team to land the Jamaican fullback?
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