Geoff Cameron celebrates a goal, but that may be nothing to the celebration that could come with a move to Stoke City of the English Premier League. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
So the rumors of Stoke City being interested in purchasing the rights to Geoff Cameron have been made official, and while many fans of Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer in general may find themselves not caring much about it, they should.
It was a few years ago that fans of RSL saw a couple of their players leave the team and head to Europe, for Yura Movsisyian it has led to the stint and Randers and then a move to FC Krasnodar of the Russian League, it also has led to him becoming a force for the Armenian national team . Robbie Findley hasn't had as much luck in large part to some injury issues in his time with Nottingham Forest FC, but he is healthy at the start of their preseason and I wish him the best this year and beyond.
Both of those players left RSL at the end of their contracts, meaning RSL got nothing in return as there was no transfer fee paid for them. In both cases RSL tried to negotiate with them to get them to stay with the team, but the lure of more money, the opportunity to play in Europe, and agents whispering in their ears was too much for them to resist. It was a loss for both Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer, as young talented players left the league in their prime. There is also the case of Stuart Holden, a young player who was barely making ends meet on his MLS salary who Houston should have opened their pocketbooks for him years before his contract was up, but they didn't and he left to Europe with neither MLS or the Houston Dynamo getting anything in return.
What all this means and what it has to do with Geoff Cameron after the jump:
So now we have the case of Geoff Cameron, a youngish player with a bright future both for club and country and a team from Europe comes knocking on MLS's door, the question is will MLS hold out for a high transfer fee or will they accept that offer given. I think as long as the offer is fair, which is a subject of great debate itself, I think MLS and Houston have to accept the offer, if not two things will happen.
First, the player will think you are holding them back and that could cause all kinds of issues on and off the pitch for the team. Second, you will likely lose them when their contract is up and get nothing in return. Now that doesn't mean you let a team lowball you, but it does mean that you have to be fair and honest in your dealings.
Real Salt Lake is going to face a similar dilemma very soon as Luis Gil comes off his Generation Adidas contract that keeps him from counting against the RSL salary cap and as interest from Europe is likely to increase as next spring's U20 World Cup qualifying and World Cup is getting closer and closer on the calendar.
This problem is going to keep raising its ugly head as long as MLS sticks with a salary cap that goes up less than the guaranteed raises that players via the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), it forces players to choose between the option of staying with their teams but perhaps not making as much money as they can and capitalizing their earning potential as well as being able to go and play in the bigger leagues of Europe.
So what happens with Geoff Cameron and a potential transfer to Stoke City, and how MLS handles it isn't just important to the Geoff Cameron, the Houston Dynamo organization and their fans, but all the teams and fans of Major League Soccer. Today it is Cameron, tomorrow it may be Luis Gil, or someone from your team.
OFF MY SOAPBOX