It’s been almost two years since Kekuta Manneh set foot on a Major League Soccer pitch, but it looks like that could be changing soon. Expansion side FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC have agreed on a deal to bring the 24 year old back to MLS according to The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio. Tenorio reports that Manneh was in Cincinnati on Monday to complete his physical before the deal to bring him to the Queen City can be complete.
Once considered a bright, young prospect during his first four seasons in MLS, Manneh scored 22 goals and collected 12 assists during his tenure with the Vancouver Whitecaps. He was included as part of a trade in early 2017 that saw the Crew acquire the pacy winger while sending $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, $75,000 in General Allocation Money and midfielder Tony Tchani to Vancouver.
Manneh struggled to fit in during his time in Central Ohio under then head coach Gregg Berhalter. After the trade, it took the winger over a month to make his debut due to fitness issues. In total, Manneh played 19 games for the Black & Gold scoring just four goals and tallying three assists.
Following the 2017 season, Columbus attempted to re-sign the winger, but he opted to sign for Liga MX club Pachuca. However, the bonafide contract offer allowed the Crew to maintain the winger’s right should he return to MLS.
Following his stint in Mexico, in which he played just one time for Pachuca, the winger applied his craft in the Swiss Super League with St. Gallen. He has yet to score for the Swiss club and hasn’t featured on a game day roster since Dec. 8, 2018, making just seven total appearances.
The move makes sense for FC Cincinnati, who lack attacking depth in the final third. The expansion side has focused much of the offseason on building up its midfield and backline but neglected to bolster the attack. Should the deal be completed, Manneh will be a key cog in the FCC attack.
According to the reports from The Athletic, It is unclear whether a transfer fee or allocation money will change hands. Berhalter was high on Manneh, as evidenced by the amount spent to acquire him, but was willing to let the winger try his hand abroad. It is unclear what his current value is given his disappointing last year, or how the new Crew front office, led by president Tim Bezbatchenko and technical director Pat Onstad, values the winger.
Massive Report will provide updates as the story unfolds.