During an offseason in which Sporting Kansas City intends to reinvest in its offense, the first acquisition is on the verge of completion.
Sporting KC has reached an agreement in principle with French attacking midfielder Yohan Croizet, sources told The Star.
Croizet, 25, arrives from Belgian first-division club KV Mechelen, where Sporting KC has been scouting him for months. The move to Kansas City will require a transfer fee.
On the same day Sporting KC lost winger Latif Blessing to LAFC via the MLS Expansion Draft, the club adds Croizet on a multi-year deal that will pay him designated player money, sources said.
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Croizet (pronounced CROY-zette) has three assists and no goals in 15 games this season. He scored three goals and recorded four assists last year.
He has played both attacking midfielder and right wing for KV Mechelen, but his preferred spot is the No. 10 midfielder, the same position occupied by Benny Feilhaber in Kansas City for the past five seasons. Feilhaber, who will turn 33 in January, had five goals and three assists in 2017.
Croizet plays with pace moving toward goal — described by scouts as a north-south midfielder, as opposed to an east-west player. That fits into Sporting Kansas City’s desire to bolster an offense that finished ninth in the Western Conference with 40 goals. The offseason blueprint — overseen by coach Peter Vermes and director of player personnel Brian Bliss —also includes adding a striker, an ongoing pursuit that remains atop the wish list.
Sporting KC is looking to add multiple designated players between the current winter window and next summer’s transfer window, sources told The Star earlier this month. Its current position within the salary cap, along with allocation money acquired through trade and provided by the league, will enhance the fulfillment of that task. Club CEO Robb Heineman expressed a desire to invest in an attacking midfielder and striker this winter.
Croizet represents the initial step. He made his professional debut in 2011 in his native France, when he was 19. His career includes four stops, the most recent three in Belgium. KV Mechelen purchased his rights nearly two years ago, and while his first season provided its share of accomplishments, the club has struggled in the first half of the 2017-18 season, making Croizet expendable.