Dom Dwyer just became the highest transfer within MLS, the United States national team forward moving from Sporting Kansas City last week to Orlando City in a deal that could reach $1.3 million in allocation money. It was a deal that sent shockwaves around MLS.
And one that now has MLS coaches and sporting directors scratching their collective heads.
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Up until this year, the league never divulged the amount of allocation money involved in a trade or a transfer but this offseason has finally pulled back the curtain on these mechanisms. For instance, the Red Bulls traded captain Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire for $400,000 in allocation money earlier this offseason; Kevin Molino was picked up by Minnesota United for $450,000 in allocation money – believed to be the biggest transfer up to that point.
But Dwyer’s move blows the doors off of things and might not just have a trickle down but a torrential downpour effect.
“This didn’t just raise the bar, it blew it away,” one head coach tells Metro. “This is potentially so far above the going rate – and that is no disrespect towards Dwyer who is a fantastic player – but it kills our transfer system. This isn’t a gradual uptick, it really is beyond the scope of many teams. Frankly, I’m not sure this is sustainable moving forward. You may not see a move like this for a long time; it might make future moves of star players very, very difficult.”
That the deal is double if not triple previous moves for players like McCarty and Molino might hurt further deals down the road. Dwyer is certainly an elite striker, in his prime and visible within the league and the national team.
But the economics are so far flung from the previous reality within MLS that it will either forever change player evaluation in the league or will be a complete outlier.
Stack the numbers for McCarty, an MLS All-Star this year and in 2015 and Dwyer’s deal and the economics are clearly not there.
“We’ve already seen it, [one Eastern Conference team] is shopping a prominent forward. [A guy who] scores multiple goals, whose strike rate over the past couple of seasons stands with Dwyer,” one sporting director in the Western Conference told Metro. The sporting director asked that the team and player mentioned in the above quote not be revealed. “They’re looking for more money than Molino – by quite a bit. It has automatically raised the initial asking price and teams will have to compete and pay absurd fees for transfers inside of MLS."
“And allocation money is finite – there is only so much floating around in the league. It expires over time, I don’t think people realize that. So to get one player, you now potentially will have to mortgage your future and give ridiculous allocation money to make a move. In some ways, a transfer outside of the league is now easier than bringing in a top player. Look at some of the top teams in MLS and the allocation money they have. The amount paid for Dywer is double what some of the top teams have available in allocation money, in some cases three times that amount. What it does is completely change the evaluation and economics of MLS. It’s drastic…it’s going to kill a lot of moves going forward. They simply overpaid but now any team looking to move a star player will want Dwyer money.”