Less than two weeks after a report surfaced claiming that under-contract Columbus Crew SC attackers Ola Kamara and Justin Meram had indicated their desire to leave Crew SC during the MLS offseason, multiple new rumors have arisen regarding the potential destination for Columbus’ striker, Kamara.
MLSSoccer.com reporter Sam Stejskal reported on Jan. 5, 2018 that Kamara requested to leave the Black & Gold during this current offseason, citing frustration with his current Crew SC contract. Kamara’s discontent with his current contract is not a new phenomenon, with ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reporting midseason that contract talks between the striker’s agent and Columbus broke down without a new deal.
Kamara is entering the third year of his four-year contract and had a guaranteed salary of $482,500 last year.
Rumors of a new destination for Kamara began on twitter before Stejskal’s report was released. In December of 2017, Jeff Rueter reported that the LA Galaxy approached the Black & Gold regarding the availability of the team’s leading goal scorer.
While Rueter’s December 2017 report does not suggest that Crew SC intended to move Kamara, combined with later reports, it seems that rumblings of the striker’s discontent in Columbus began to spread throughout the league.
Following the report that Kamara asked to leave, rumors arose that the Colorado Rapids had arisen as front runners to acquire the striker.
Colorado’s interest appears to have been brief, or the Black & Gold’s asking price was too high, with Carlisle reporting that the Rapids had moved on from attempting to acquire Kamara. A interesting note in Carlisle’s report is that Kamara preferred to play on a larger, coastal MLS city (i.e. LA or New York) and that teams outside of MLS had also shown interest in Crew SC’s leading scorer.
Days later, a rumor popped up that at least one La Liga — Spain’s top league — team was interested in submitting a bid for Kamara.
On Wednesday, rumors suggested that Columbus and the Galaxy are actively engaged in trade talks for Kamara, potentially involving some combination of LA’s first-round pick in Friday’s upcoming MLS Super Draft (the second-overall pick), Gyasi Zardes, General and/or Targeted Allocation Money and Emmanuel Boateng.
#LAGalaxy and #CrewSC remain engaged in trade talks for Ola Kamara, per league sources. A package of Gyasi Zardes, allocation money and a draft pick has been discussed, but deal would have to be agreed upon before Friday's draft. #MLS— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) January 17, 2018
Adding a further wrinkle to this: I've heard that Ema Boateng's name has popped up in the Ola Kamara trade discussions between Crew SC and the Galaxy. https://t.co/SymEHmZ9di— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) January 17, 2018
What seems clear from all of these rumblings is that Kamara may indeed be on his way out. These reports, in tandem with the rumors of Meram’s intent to seek a new challenge away from the Black & Gold, suggest that Crew SC is certainly in a flux this off-season.
Stejskal’s initial report suggested that the team’s potential relocation to Austin played at least some part in these potential roster changes. The question that Columbus, and Gregg Berhalter, must now answer is how they intend to build a team that can succeed during a potentially lame-duck year that is filled with uncertainty.