Gianluca Busio made no secret that he wanted to go to Europe one day, and Sporting Kansas City were intent on helping him get there.
Given the widespread interest and offers for the 19-year-old homegrown midfielder, it was only a matter of time. That time came now.
Sporting KC officially announced the club-record transfer of Busio to newly-promoted Serie A side Venezia FC on Thursday, for a base fee of $6 million and incentives that could take the deal to $10.5 million, according to ESPN's Taylor Twellman and The Athletic's Paul Tenorio. While the midseason timing may not be ideal, the move is shaping up to be a win-win.
“It’s very important for us to have an open relationship and be extremely transparent so everyone understands," Vermes told media on Friday. "The player has the final decision, whether he wants to go or not. It’s important for me to understand the ambitions of the players. I know this is something 'Bus wanted to do and I also know he loves the club, loves the team (SKC).”
Busio started all 13 of Sporting's games before he departed for this summer's Gold Cup. During his time with the U.S. Men's National Team, Sporting and Venezia agreed to the deal. After winning the tournament last Sunday, Busio flew to Italy to complete his move this week.
“Busio gave everything he had when he was here, an unbelievable team guy," Vermes said. "There’s not one time I can ever say he had a bad attitude, he gave everything. Never asked questions when I asked him to play six different positions.”
Transferring a key player midseason is not necessarily ideal, particularly as Busio was in the midst of his best and most consistent run as a pro in his young career.
Busio's versatility was also key for Sporting. He got most of his minutes this year as a No. 6, but played each role in Vermes' midfield trio as well as a few games as a false nine. He can play as a winger if needed, too.
“Timing-wise, this probably ended up being the best situation for the deal," Vermes said. "Maybe not on the field, you know it’ll be hard to replace him on the field. But we also have a group of guys who understand players will come and go and we’ll have to make the most of each situation.”
The club did bring in another midfielder with Busio departing.
Sporting signed Jose Mauri, a 25-year-old midfielder who was most recently with CD Talleres in Argentina but started his career in Italy. He can play as a No. 6 or No. 8.
“Busio’s versatility was an important aspect, Mauri has some of that as well," Vermes added.
Mauri has dual Argentine and Italian citizenship, plus has played at the top level in both countries. He spent the majority of his career in Italy, where he competed for Parma, Empoli and Milan between 2013 and 2019. He later returned to the country of his birth, where he competed in Argentina's top flight for Talleres.
The versatile midfielder originally left Argentina to join Parma's youth setup in 2012 before making his debut the following year at the age of 17. He became a regular starter in the 2014-15 season, when his standout performances led to a move to seven-time European Cup winners Milan in 2015.