Who Won the Trade?

So after all was done and dusted, Kei Kamara became a New England player. This of course begs the question, who won the trade? We asked Tyler and Anders to take a different viewpoint and explain why each team may have come out on top in the exchange.

Columbus Won The Trade

There was obviously something wrong with this team. That much was painfully obvious as the Crew struggled mightily out of the gate this year. Saturday’s meltdown was the culmination of a locker room issue it’s becoming clear was much more longstanding than a single penalty kick.

Precourt seems to be suggesting in no uncertain terms Kamara had been a problem for a long time, a problem the team was happy to put up with when he was scoring. Which brings up a good point: Kamara hasn’t actually played that well this year. Columbus was left with no choice but to reward Kei with a big contract following his monster season in 2015. But the goals weren’t flowing as freely this year and it’s easy to make the argument Kamara has actually cost the Crew points in 2016 with his inconsistent finishing. Maybe four goals in his last four games is a sign Kamara is getting back to his 2015 form, or maybe it’s an outlier for a player who’d never scored more than 11 times in a season before last year.

Either way, something had to be done. Now Greg Berhalter gets a chance to refocus the team around a clear No. 1 option in Federico Higuaín with plenty of season left in a weak Eastern Conference. Columbus raked in huge amounts of General and Target Allocation Money from the Revs and you better believe that will go toward signing a forward in the summer window or trading for one already in MLS. The fact Columbus didn’t get Juan Agudelo in this deal tells me Berhalter has a plan to replace Kamara. In the meantime, the Crew has Ola Kamara (coming off a 14­g oal season in the Norwegian top flight) to lead the line. Justin Meram can slot in at forward if needed and Conor Casey looks like he’ll end up being a valuable depth signing. So let’s trust the coach who took his team to MLS Cup last year. The locker room was past saving. Someone had to go.

- Anders A. 

New England Won The Trade

In a deal that sends Kei Kamara their way, the New England Revolution absolutely “won” this trade. New England sent around $500,000 in some variation of TAM and GAM; a first-round draft pick in 2017; a second-round draft pick in 2018; an international roster slot; and a future percentage of monies (transfer fee) if Kamara leaves MLS to play elsewhere. This may seem like a great deal for Columbus, but is it really?

Kei Kamara's numbers in Columbus (courtesy of mlssoccer.com) 

Kei Kamara's numbers in Columbus (courtesy of mlssoccer.com) 

Since Kamara is 31 years old, it is unlikely that the future percentage will come into play; I check that off as a useless piece of this trade. The first and second-round picks could be valuable, but MLS drafts are hit and miss, so it is tough to say whether or not these will pan out to anything, either. So, what does that leave the trade with? Upwards of $500,000 in TAM and GAM and an international roster slot. The international roster spot is solely for 2016, so it is more like a lease for the rest of the season and then New England gets it back. The TAM and GAM amounts equal a large sum in MLS terms, due to the salary cap. However, I am confident that many GMs in MLS would gladly bring in a proven goal-scorer in this league for that amount. Kei is arguably the most dangerous aerial threat in the league and was second in the golden boot race last year. Even if they only keep him for two seasons, he is more than worth $500k in allocation money, because he will give NER at least 10-15 goals per season. The Rapids just paid Everton a larger transfer fee for 37-year-old GK (a position this league seems to neglect), so $500k is a good deal for a proven goal-scorer. My only concern is Kei’s attitude. I do not know him, nor have I been in the locker rooms with him, but for him to call out his teammate and coach in that way, he should be ridiculed. Is the deal still really good, despite his potential attitude? I think so… and that is why New England won the trade.

- Tyler W.