Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mixed Messages on Kamara

Excellent reporting on the Kei Kamara contract situation by Shawn Mitchell in today's Columbus Dispatch as he was able to get quotes from both sides. Let's run down them real quick...

Gregg Berhalter:
- Kamara returned from Sierra Leone with "a slight illness that limited his training."
- "As far as I'm concerned he was full in with what he is able to to right now"
- "Our goal is to build him up to full strength. We're not going to rush him back."
- Won't "confirm or deny" negotiations.
Kei Kamara:
- Confirmed that he is in a contract dispute.
- "It's not something to hide"
- "We are talking contract. But we have not agreed to anything. When we do, then mentally I'll be good to go. 100%. But at the moment we're still talking."
- "under contract and that's why I'm here and not holding out. I've been paid to be here. But at the same time, I've done what I can do... for my team and I feel like I should be rewarded for it. So that's what I've asked the club to do."

It's a little bizarre that Berhalter is still talking this way. It's been speculated since the beginning of January that Kamara may be looking.

Berhalter, like any coach or anyone responsible for player contracts, would clearly rather this be not out in the world (and certainly not mentioned on a USMNT broadcast, like it was tonight). In the past, he's used excuses for players not happy or seeking a new deal. Same goes for Kamara but this time, it's got him reeling a bit.

Another rough going sign here is that Berhalter is still not being forthright about the situation when Kamara is. Mitchell mentioned that Kamara was offered an additional $140,000 for next season, but that seems like hush money seeing how the team is wanting this to not be about a contract.

Kamara is acting as his own agent, according to the article. That may end up hurting him ultimately, but he is in the right. He just had the best offensive season in Crew history and one of the best in MLS history. On top of that, he likely knows that Columbus is up the creek if he decides he is done.

Things sound like they are calm at the moment, in regards to communication. Since he's on a deal right now, MLS corporate is probably just shrugging their shoulders and ready to hit the dump button if he keeps holding out.

We shall see. Needs to be resolved quickly because these things jack up early seasons, especially with the missed training. Crew already are missing three to the USMNT, this just sorta backs things up even more.

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