Update: The trade has been announced by the team and is now official.
Original story: New York City FC is close to completing a trade that would send Khiry Shelton to Sporting Kansas City for defender Saad Abdul-Salaam, according to reports from Glenn Crooks, Ives Galarcep, and Sam McDowell on Thursday.
The deal makes sense for both clubs. Kansas City just lost a winger, Latif Blessing, in the expansion draft. NYCFC has plenty of wingers, but has a major need at right back.
Shelton has had an up and down time with NYCFC. He was their first-ever draft pick, but because of injuries and other reasons he could never break into the starting XI on a consistent basis. He flashed his potential in his second season, chipping in four goals and adding nine assists.
Abdul-Salaam was drafted twelfth overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, 10 picks after Shelton. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2016, with six assists in about 2400 minutes. However, Graham Zusi moved to right back this year, pushing Abdul-Salaam to the bench. Even though he might have actually been better than Zusi, and is certainly more athletic, KC head coach Peter Vermes decided to start Zusi. Thus, Abdul-Salaam became expendable.
With Shelton reportedly out and Abdul-Salaam in, here is what the depth chart might look like:
Both players have struggled to break into the starting XIs for their respective sides. If this trade is able to be completed, both will have the opportunity for a fresh start.
What would you think of this trade? How would Abdul-Salaam fit in? Will Shelton ever have a breakout season? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.