KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sporting KC announced that they’ve traded Ike Opara to Minnesota United in exchange for allocation money. The move comes after Sporting KC acquired two center backs recently, and Opara had requested a trade in the offseason.
Sporting KC will receive $900k in Targeted Allocation money and up to an additional $100k in TAM if Minnesota United meets certain performance targets. Per Jeff Carisle, Sporting KC will get that $100k if Minnesota United make the playoffs.
Opara is only a season removed from his Defender of the Year campaign. The 10 year MLS vet was traded to Sporting KC from the San Jose Earthquakes in the offseason prior to the 2013 MLS Campaign. Sporting KC signed Opara to a contract extension last season. He had made the request to be considered when it comes to a trade, but Sporting KC didn’t think that was going to happen. After his camp put out that he had asked for a trade, it crossed the SKC front office, per Sam McDowell’s report.
Sporting KC acquired Andreu Fontas at the deadline last summer, a La Liga veteran center-back on a free transfer, and signed Hungarian defender Botond Barath this offseason as well. With a solid three, and a fourth in Graham Smith in the mix, Sporting KC were more than set at the position depth wise, and for that price, they’ll certainly take the deal.
Minnesota United on the other hand, have been one of the worst defensive teams in the entire league since they joined, and they’ve been really busy getting their backline and midfield in order this offseason. Throwing in Ike Opara to their mix will be a positive, and certainly help shore up some of their backline issues.
As for what Sporting KC does with the money, remains to be seen. They COULD lump it all into one player, which is something they haven’t done in the past. Or they could end up spreading it out like they did last offseason when they brought in Johnny Russell, Felipe Gutierrez, and Yohan Croizet.