Ola Kamara’s time in Major League Soccer could be coming to an end just 13 months after being traded to LA Galaxy from Columbus Crew SC. The club released a statement on Wednesday morning confirming that Ola Kamara would be traveling to China to finalize a move to the Chinese Super League.
“Ola has expressed to us his intention to pursue opportunities elsewhere and we have identified an option that would greatly benefit our club financially,” Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in the press release. “We believe that this decision was needed to improve and balance our roster while granting Ola’s request. The transfer would allow us to achieve the best solution for addressing our needs both now and in the future.”
This is not the first time Kamara has requested a move from his team in his three-plus seasons in Major League Soccer. The forward was looking for a bigger contract during the 2017 season and then requested a trade following the year. Columbus eventually moved Kamara to LA.
The move makes sense with the Galaxy’s well-documented roster compliance issues and with Kamara’s financial aspirations. The club will likely get financial help to assist with solving their Designated Player issue — the Galaxy current have four DPs, one more than the MLS limit — and Kamara becomes the next player to get a big money move to China.
Taking a look back on the initial trade between LA and Columbus, it was received with mixed emotions from Black & Gold fans. In exchange for Kamara, the Crew received forward Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in Allocation Money.
Kamara had been very productive in his time in Columbus, scoring 34 goals in his two seasons with the club. Zardes on the other hand, was coming off of a career-worst season with only two goals and two assists in a year riddled with injuries. Many around the country were skeptical of whether Zardes would ever be able to find his 2014 form when he scored 16 goals and speculated that the Crew may have taken too big of a risk.
Zardes has had a career revival of sorts during his time with the Black & Gold. He had a career season in 2018 as the top American goalscorer with 20 total goals. His success earned him U.S. Men’s National Team call ups and helped the Crew reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.
On the other side of the trade, the Galaxy brought in another striker in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which complicated things for Kamara. Despite Ibrahimovic’s presence in the squad, Kamara had another productive season with 14 goals and three assists.
On the pitch, there is no argument that Crew won the trade. Financially, it remains to be seen just how high of a transfer fee LA will receive for Kamara. The size of the transfer fee will largely determine who wins the financial end of the deal.
In a rare occurrence, there are no real losers of the trade in the end as Columbus got a productive target striker who goes into the 2019 season as one of the golden boot favorites. While LA got productivity out of Kamara for a season and may be able to alleviate some of their compliance issues ahead of the deadline.