The two sides expressed their sentiments in different ways – and tones – but the gist was the same: Sporting Kansas City's contract renegotiation offer wasn't enough to keep Krisztian Nemeth in MLS for the 2016 season.
Nemeth, who was transferred to Qatari side Al-Gharafa on Friday for an undisclosed fee, took to his Facebook page on Monday to say that the transfer wasn't entirely about money and that the situation that led to the surprise deal was “more complicated than you think at first.”
It didn't take long for the subject of money to come up in the Hungarian international's post, though.
“At the end of the last year, it’s become clear that the leaders of SKC think differently than I hoped, about my last season, my performance and my future, including my possible Euro 2016 participation,” it read in part. “I was really disappointed, especially when I saw how the club handles this situation.
“Last year Sporting Kansas got me for free, and now they sold me for a really high transfer fee. I would have stayed for the one-third of my future salary, and that would still mean I wouldn’t be among the best paid players in the team. There was no chance for it… I’m sorry.”
In a conference call on Monday, though, Sporting manager and technical director Peter Vermes said the club offered Nemeth an “extremely generous” raise after his standout 2015 season – his only year with the club.
The 27-year-old forward was on a four-year contract, Vermes said during Monday's conference call, and Sporting's front office offered Nemeth and his agents a new deal with a higher salary this offseason.
“Unfortunately, they didn't feel that it was enough,” Vermes said. “I will tell you that it was an extremely generous offer, especially a player that's in the first year of his contract. Obviously, he wanted a lot more money, and it was something we couldn't do. So at the end, there was an offer that came in, and we spent some time negotiating it, and obviously we came to an agreement at his behest.
“They had asked if an offer had come where he was able to make more money, and from our perspective, it's no different from what we've said in the past with other players that we've transferred on – and that is as long as we can make the deal terms work also for Sporting Kansas City, then we would make it happen. But, obviously, it has to work on both sides, not just one.”
Nemeth, acquired on a free transfer early last year from Dutch club Roda JC Kerkrade, scored 16 goals across all competitions for Sporting last season – including a clutch equalizer in the U.S. Open Cup title match on the way to Kansas City's shootout victory over the Philadelphia Union.
His twisting run and finish through the Portland Timbers' defense on Oct. 3 earned MLS Goal of the Year honors, the first in club history.
During Monday's call, Vermes also said he wasn't sure how much input Nemeth had into the Facebook post that appeared earlier in the day.
“I'm not really sold on that he wrote that letter,” he said. “I think it was more between him and his agents. I think his agents had a lot to do with that. They, obviously, were a big part of the negotiation with us and felt that the offer that we made was not enough. At the end of the day, there really was no other reason why he's not here any more. It came down to money.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.