Last Friday, news broke of Stoke City offering New York City FC US$6 million (with incentives) for winger Jack Harrison. Later that day — at MLS media day — Harrison was asked about these rumors. His response: “Nothing is official right now.” By not squashing the rumors, he only fanned the flames.
Harrison has clearly been planning for a move this offseason, as evidenced by the intense workout sessions on his Instagram stories. Harrison wants a move, but does NYCFC? Would it make sense for the club?
I’m not going to go into a full breakdown of the numbers (look here for a great breakdown), but let’s explore NYCFC’s potential cut.
Assuming a $6 million transfer fee, NYCFC would receive $650,000 in new General Allocation Money (GAM), $165,500 of GAM that was Harrison’s salary, and $2,184,500 to invest where they see fit. Where does the remaining $3 million go you might wonder? Sadly, MLS takes a 50 percent cut because Harrison was acquired via the MLS SuperDraft and has only accrued two years of service time.
Despite only receiving half the fee, NYCFC should still sell him. Why? They have ready replacements and need to establish themselves as a team with a pathway to Europe.
The biggest argument for not selling Harrison is that they wouldn’t be able to sign a replacement of equal skill with the same financial investment. And while that may be true, it doesn’t matter because NYCFC have been planning for this. My guess is that Harrison told Vieira the moment they met that he wanted to eventually play in the Premier League. Why wouldn’t you tell one of the Premier League’s best players ever that you eventually want to play in the Premier League?
NYCFC has clearly been planning for a Harrison departure since 2016. Last offseason, they drafted Jonathan Lewis — another Generation adidas winger — and Rodney Wallace — an experienced, versatile winger. The succession plan kicked into high gear this offseason, however, when the club signed four players who can appear on the wing: Jesus Medina, Jo Inge Berget, Ismael Tajouri, and Saad Abdul-Salaam. Plus, Gio Reyna, Andre Fortune II, and Dante Polvara were all invited to training camp and can play winger. So if (or when) he leaves, NYCFC won’t have to rush out to find a replacement, they already have in-house options.
Another benefit of selling Harrison is that they can use the move as a message to incoming players. It shows that New York can be a pathway to Europe and a career stepping stone. Players will want to come to NYCFC if they think that it will help advance their careers. In a league with a salary cap, that competitive advantage is much needed.
Now is the time for the Bronx Blues to sell Harrison to the Premier League. The club has become very deep and should be able to endure a departing starter, so they can reinvest the money elsewhere. Harrison has had a great — albeit short — career with NYCFC, but they should part now on good terms. Otherwise they risk ending up like Orlando City and Cyle Larin.
Do you think NYCFC should sell Jack Harrison? Who would start in his place? Let’s hear your thoughts below.