It didn't take long for the rumors today to be confirmed as Sporting KC announced today that they had agreed to transfer forward Krisztian Nemeth to Al-Gharafa SC of Qatar. No fee was announced per MLS rules, but Sporting KC will get two-thirds of the fee and considering the money involved in the game in Qatar at the moment brought a reported fee of just under $3 million for Kansas City and MLS, plus an apparent sell on clause. So KC will get just under $2 million with their two-thirds share of the fee. On top of that Nemeth is probably going to get a very big pay raise that KC wouldn't have been able to afford without seriously overpaying for Nemeth. KC could have paid Nemeth a designated player contract, but there becomes a question of when you are overpaying for a player.
The loss though is a big blow for Kansas City on the field, replacing his production will not be easy. KC picked up Brad Davis and Justin Mapp in the offseason and the pair will likely be relied on to replace Nemeth's left wing position. Neither is known for their goal scoring skills, so replacing Nemeth's six assists in league play isn't a problem. The team though will likely have to rely on goal scoring by committee to replace Nemeth's 10 league goals and 16 in all competitions as Davis' career high for goals is eight and he's scored four in each of the last three seasons. Meanwhile Mapp has never scored more than three in his career. KC will also be hoping that Graham Zusi can improve on his two goals that he scored last season. The three will likely be the main ones called upon to pick up the slack that will be left from Nemeth's departure.
It also leaves KC with a lack of depth at the center forward position. Just days after fans were talking about the depth that the team had in numerous positions, KC is one injury to Dom Dwyer away from having their center forward be one of Zusi, Jacob Peterson, or 19 year old Daniel Salloi. And while Dwyer's injury issues from very early in his career are behind him relying on him game in and game out over the course of a season that will have at least 39 games across all competitions is asking quite a bit from the Englishman.
As for potential replacements the only mention we've heard in recent days was Robb Heineman mentioning that a young central midfielder that they were looking at as a loan was now looking like an acquisition. The problem though when it comes to replacing key players is that KC doesn't have the best track record of finding immediate replacements for high profile departures. After the 2012 season, Roger Espinoza left Kansas City on a free transfer, moving to England. Here is about the best KC has done with a replacement as Paulo Nagamura stepped up and was able to fill that gap that Espinoza left. KC tried to get Jorge Claros in but had to wait until the summer of 2014 to bring him in and that was less than successful. In 2013 the club lost Kei Kamara when the Sierra Leone forward first was loaned to Norwich and then moved permanently to Middlesbrough. KC didn't find a forward on the wing opposite of Zusi until they brought in Nemeth this past season. Then early in 2014 KC sold Oriol Rosell to Sporting Club de Portugal and once again struggled to replace him in that season. It wasn't until the emergence of Soni Mustivar this past season that KC really started to move past Rosell's departure. At the end of 2014 KC traded away defender Aurelien Collin believing that Ike Opara would be able to take his spot, and he certainly did, until the oft-injured center back got injured again. Hopefully KC is able to find an able replacement for Nemeth, whether it is someone currently on the roster or someone they bring in, but finding replacements immediately for key departing players has not been a strong point over the last few seasons.