The Carlos Vela to MLS rumor mill is still churning despite the player’s social media dousing of the topic last week. Vela started, and played 68 minutes for Real Sociedad on Sunday while his agent met with MLS and the Colorado Rapids over the weekend. According to SI.com, the league is offering somewhere in the neighborhood of a $5 million transfer fee for his services and that’s not close to what Real Sociedad is asking in return.
That doesn’t mean that discussions have ceased.
Per a source in Spain, Real Sociedad was made aware of Vela’s desire to leave the club last summer in order to play closer to home. An agreement was forged with his agent allowing Vela’s camp to pursue other opportunities in facilitating a move. The agent, Eduardo Hernandez has publicly acknowledged discussions with MLS and continues attempts to negotiate a fee closer to the 15 million euros that Sociedad is looking for. If he can secure a deal in that ballpark, the transfer proposal will then be presented to club president Jokim Apperibay.
While there is still a large discrepancy between what MLS/Rapids are offering, Vela’s camp is poised to propose a solution to bridge the gap. An “investment fund” could be used to lower the transfer fee. Under the proposal, sponsors would make up the difference allowing Real Sociedad to recover the 14 million euros they have invested in Vela. The possibility of a more palatable transfer fee has piqued further interest from MLS and the Fire remain a possibility. According to the source, Chicago is one of the clubs that has expressed a desire to pursue Vela although the Rapids currently hold his Discovery rights. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas were also mentioned as possibilities due to their proximity to Mexico. As we have seen with Didier Drogba, if the player chooses to play with a team other than the one holding his league rights, MLS will make it happen.
According to another source stateside, the large amount of allocation money that was awarded to the Fire in exchange for Drogba’s rights wasn’t solely out of the Montreal Impact’s pocketbook. MLS supplemented the total in order to ensure that Drogba made his way to the league last summer.
The negotiations for Vela aren’t as straightforward as a typical DP signing since Vela has a contract that runs through the 2018 season and Arsenal reportedly has a 20% stake in any transfer fee Real Sociedad collects. There is also apparently a $33 million buy-out clause in the deal that could release him now but that appears to be too rich.
This wouldn’t be the first time that MLS’ opaque player acquisition rules have been maneuvered to bring in a big signing. The original “DP”, David Beckham signed a deal in 2007 that was reported to be in excess of $25 million per year but that included sponsorship dollars and the option to purchase a club. That wrinkle is being ironed out now in Miami.
Vela to MLS isn’t a done deal by any means but talks are expected to heat up again as the January transfer window approaches.