Tuesday, September 06, 2016

More on Rejected Feilhaber Transfer

Last week news came out that reigning Israel Premier League champions, Hapoel Be'er Sheva had made an offer to Sporting Kansas City for midfielder Benny Feilhaber. The club rejected the offer for Feilhaber who is in the last year of his contract with Sporting Kansas City.

Tonight before the US game against Trinidad and Tobago Grant Wahl had some further information regarding the offer that Be'er Sheva made for Feilhaber. According to Wahl, the offer for Feilhaber was around $500,000. The key to remember with this is that Feilhaber is currently in the final few months of his deal, and since he's in the final six months of his contract he is free to sign a pre-contract with any club ahead of his contract with Sporting KC expiring. So if Feilhaber really does want to go to Israel, he could sign a pre-contract with Hapoel Be'er Sheva at any time and be well within his rights as a player.

You can't blame Sporting Kansas City for rejecting the offer though, selling Feilhaber would be the club waving the white flag on the 2016 season and be a direct sign the club is looking towards 2017 and beyond. At the same time, without a ready made replacement for Feilhaber on the team and Feilhaber having arguably been KC's best and most consistent performer over the last couple seasons would lead to a bit of a fan revolt. That said it is also similar to the Roger Espinoza situation from 2012 when Sporting KC had offers for the midfielder, but chose to hang onto him and retain his MLS rights for the future instead of selling him.

With Feilhaber in the last year of his contract, the offer from Be'er Sheva was always going to be low, because they could try to get him on a free transfer in January if they wanted to. But even if KC had accepted the offer, they wouldn't have gotten all $500,000. Per MLS rules, Sporting KC would have only gotten two-thirds of that transfer fee, so about $333,333. Because that fee is below the maximum allocation allowed of $650,000, Sporting could have used their portion of the transfer fee as allocation money. While the club could have used that money to buy down contracts for the coming year, it probably wouldn't have been worth the loss of Feilhaber on the field, especially if the club still feels confident of retaining his services after this season.

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