With discussion swirling about the future of 19-year-old Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio, the club's manager chimed in on the hot topic Thursday afternoon during an interview with Soren Petro of Sports Radio 810 WHB.

Manager Peter Vermes has started Busio in all nine matches for Sporting this season, deploying him as an attacking midfielder, a holding midfielder or as a false nine in attack. The Sporting KC Academy product has been up to the task, delivering a series of sparking performances to generate speculation about his potential breakthrough into the United States Men's National Team and, somewhere down the line, a move to Europe.

"I would love for Gianluca to stay with us, but I'm also a big believer that he has ambition," Vermes said. "Part of my role and responsibility is to help him achieve that. Obviously that has to be beneficial for everyone and I'm not going to be the person who stands in someone's way if there's something they want to do and we can help address it.

"At the same time, you have to do right by everybody. We're not in a rush to make it happen, but the amount of interest (in Busio) right now is as much as it's ever been."

Listen to the full interview below.

Busio and Sporting (5-2-2, 17 points) are unbeaten in four matches and one point out of first place in the Supporters' Shield race ahead of a compelling trip to the Portland Timbers at 9:30 p.m. CT on Saturday night. Bally Sports Kansas City and Bally Sports Midwest will provide three hours of live television coverage beginning at 9 p.m. CT. Supporters can stream the contest on BallySports.com or the Bally Sports app, while the Sporting KC app will provide additional in-game updates. The game will also air live locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.