Sporting KC and Norwich made official today the news that had been rumored for a little while now and was confirmed even more last night by Josh Gardner. Sporting's leading scorer each of the last 3 seasons is leaving the club for at least the first 10 games of the MLS regular season. Kei Kamara is joining the Canaries on a loan deal until May 6th pending the club receiving his immigration clearance. In the grand scheme that is a formality. Kamara has received his work permit, which is usually the bigger sticking point when it comes to new players signing in England.
As part of the deal, Kamara's contract with MLS has been extended. Sporting will receive a "substantial loan fee to use as allocation money." Sporting will receive 2/3rds of the loan fee per MLS rules. Should Norwich be impressed with Kamara's performance while he is at the club, they will have the option to buy the Sierra Leone international's contract. If they turn down that option, Kamara will be back in the US and would be available immediately for selection by Sporting. KC's first game after Kamara's loan ends is May 12th in Houston against the Dynamo.
While away, Sporting will play 10 games, although Kamara was only likely to play in 9 of them due to a Sierra Leone World Cup qualifier on March 22nd, a day before Sporting play New England. With the deal announced today, there are 12 games for the Canaries after today's game against Tottenham and the end of Kamara's loan. Norwich have 2 more league games after Kamara's loan is supposed to end. The game that will still out for Sporting fans is the March 30th game where Norwich will take on Roger Espinoza and Wigan.
Robb Heineman posted a message on Sporting KC's website regarding the move and the clubs reasoning behind it. Heineman discussed the climate of soccer in MLS and how players will have the dream of moving on to Europe and trying their luck there. They don't want to be seen as a club that keeps players from doing that.
I really do agree with Heineman that this was probably the right move to make for the club. The moves of Roger Espinoza and Kamara especially could lead to KC being able to bring in better players. The reason for that is KC showing that they're not going to hold a player back from moving on to bigger things. While it will hurt KC in the near term and hurt for fans of the club who don't want to see one of the best in social interaction leave the team.
Espinoza and Kamara's departures also do another thing in helping Kansas City in the future with players as well. The development of those players while in KC will speak to Kansas City's and Vermes' ability to coach players up and get them to the next level. Kamara, for example, came to Kansas City with baggage, he was talked about as a locker room cancer and having a poor attitude. In KC under Vermes though, Kamara has flourished, especially on the right wing in Vermes' 4-3-3 system, which has gotten him to the point of evening being able to be linked with a move to Norwich.
Good luck to Kamara in England, I hope he does well, but not well enough to get a full time deal, I want him back in Kansas City. But if he does catch on in England I'll be disappointed, but happy for him and his future. If he's going to go, now's about the time to do it, he's got only another 1-2 contracts in his career, so getting the pay day now is big for him.