Report: Sporting Kansas City offer Rafael van der Vaart $4.8-million annual contract

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Upon joining the Designated Player-loaded and cash-flush Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City are looking to make a splash of their own. The Major League Soccer side has reportedly offered 32-year-old Dutch playmaker Rafael van der Vaart a deal worth $4.8 million per year, according to a report in German newspaper Bild (story in German).

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Van der Vaart, who is in the final year of his contract at Hamburg, would be available to sign on a free transfer at the conclusion of the current European season.

Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman confirmed last week he was heading to Germany to see Van der Vaart play and reportedly speak with the player and his representatives, so there’s certainly truth in Sporting’s pursuit of Van der Vaart. Bundesliga journalist Daniel Busch reported on Monday that Sporting club officials indeed met with Van der Vaart and his father.

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Van der Vaart is unlikely to garner an offer matching Sporting’s financial package, so it will now be up to the player to decide whether he is ready to move across the Atlantic and begin his own MLS adventure, the way European stars like Robbie Keane, Kaka, Frank Lampard, David Villa and Steven Gerrard have done in the last few years.

Adding Van der Vaart to a side that already boasts the likes of Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber in midfield, and 22-goalscorer Dom Dwyer leading the line, would seem to make Sporting a serious player in the West, assuming Peter Vermes can find the right midfield balance and doesn’t expect the oft-injured and infrequent-workman Van der Vaart to achieve similar levels of “Sporting fit” to that of his new teammates.