Transfer season, also known as “Silly Season,” is upon us and the rumor mill in churning. It’s churning especially for the New England Revolution, who, reports say, are interested in off-loading out of form attacker Kei Kamara.
Source: DC United showing strong interest in NE Revs Kei Kamara.
— MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) July 11, 2017
New England’s conference rival DC United are allegedly very interested in acquiring Kamara, whose contributions have been inconsistent at best since he joined the Revolution last May via a multi-asset trade with the Columbus Crew. This season, Kamara has recorded three assists and four goals, the most recent of which was scored on May 31 in a 2-2 draw at New York City FC.
Kamara has scored 11 goals for the Revolution since he joined the club. That is a remarkably low output for a designated player making $800,000 in guaranteed compensation, per the MLS Players Union. Scoring aside, Kamara has looked out of sync on the pitch, often slowing play down to the point of collapsing a well-worked attack. He doesn’t appear to have particularly good chemistry with any of his teammates, either, which is saying a lot considering interchange in the attack is a hallmark of how the Revolution like to play. In short, Kamara has been putting the attack back in first gear when it needs to shift into third.
Still, Kamara is an MLS veteran and a gifted player. He’s 32 years old and sitting on 90 career MLS goals and has Premier League experience. He’s a threat in the air—which is a quality that’s null and void on a Revs team that has just one quality crosser—and might be better served in new tactical system.
New England’s struggles this season don’t start and stop with Kamara—they’ve had tactical problems of their own all season—but Kamara’s raw skill hasn’t been much of a boon, either. DC United, or any other team interested in Kamara, may overlook his poor form and chalk it up to the player not being in the right surroundings.
Can the Revolution afford to lose Kamara?
Losing Kamara is a risk given that Juan Agudelo is away on national team duty and has been battling minor injuries this season and that Femi Hollinger-Janzen and Brian Wright are mostly unproven. But if the Revs want to shake Kamara, they should do it soon. The transfer window is wide open and with Kamara off the books New England have plenty of time to make use of a free DP slot. Besides, giving someone like Wright, who has been impressive in US Open Cup matches, more playing time in league games wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Should the Revolution get a DC United player in a proposed deal?
Any deal involving Kamara would likely involve significant assets such as Targeted Allocation Money, General Allocation Money, and possibly draft picks. However, the Revolution have immediate needs on the pitch and they could look to parlay Kamara for a player as part of a potential deal.
In my opinion, a worthwhile option would be DC’s Taylor Kemp. A left back, Kemp would add depth behind or in place of Chris Tierney. He’s 26 years old and has 97 league appearances under his belt. He’s also a solid crosser and likes to get into the attack, all of which fits in nicely with the Revolution. Since 2013, Kemp has recorded three goals, 14 assists, and 46 shots, all while playing for DC United.
Whether DC would be open to trading Kemp remains to be seen. DC don’t have too much depth in that position, either, and would really need to weigh their options.
But, the reason someone like Kamara appeals to them is because they’re dead last in the Eastern Conference and have the worst goals total in the league. Plus, forward Patrick Mullins is out long term after knee surgery which further hurts their attacking depth.
Was Kamara ever the right fit with New England?
Kamara arrived in New England under the specter of controversy. He may have never been traded to the Revolution had he not been involved in a conflict with Columbus’ Federico Higuain. Even if Columbus’ asking price for Kamara was steep, I don’t blame the Revolution wanting the transfer. That said, acquiring a veteran striker wasn’t the most pressing issue last season…it was signing a pair of defenders, which you could say is STILL the most pressing issue on the team.
Nevertheless, both the Revolution and Kamara could probably benefit from a change of scenery. Though players can find their footing (evidenced by Edin Dzeko’s remarkable return to form last season with Roma), the Revolution can’t afford to wait much longer. A stuttering Kamara jeopardizes playoff hopes.
And the Revolution don’t want to miss out on the playoffs in consecutive years.
Follow Julian on Twitter @juliancardillo