A few hours after suffering a 2-1 loss Saturday against Aston Villa, Norwich City announced that Kei Kamara’s loan deal was finished.
The Canaries had the option to acquire Kamara on a full transfer after a three-month loan period, which officially ends Monday, but Norwich City elected not to exercise that option.
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Instead, Kamara is heading back to Sporting Kansas City.
“They declined the option to purchase him, so he’s going to be back,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. “He’ll get back — I don’t know if it’s going to be sometime (Sunday) or Monday — but he’ll be back.”
By returning, Kamara’s contract with Sporting KC, which was set to expire after the season, has been extended through 2014.
But that doesn’t mean Kamara will remain with Sporting KC the next two seasons.
“There’s a ton of interest in him,” Heineman said. “There’s probably a dozen teams that have contacted us, including three teams that have contacted us this afternoon.”
The summer transfer window won’t open again until July, so Kamara is likely to remain with Sporting KC through the next three months before another move would be possible.
“To be honest, we wouldn’t be interested in another loan and nobody’s talked to us about that,” Heineman said. “The only discussions we’ve had have been for an out-and-out transfer. Either we’re going to do a new long-term deal with him and lock him up here for good or we’ll transfer him.”
But for now, Kamara is Kansas City bound.
“That’s the greatest plane ticket from England I've ever bought. For some reason it gave me #heartshapedhands,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said shortly after 3 p.m. on Twitter.
Two hours earlier, Norwich City confirmed on its Twitter account that Kamara would be returned. He had a goal and an assist in 10 games, including seven starts in the English Premier League.
“I’m surprised,” Heineman said. “He performed pretty well, but obviously their loss today put them in relegation danger.”
Acquired in a 2009 trade with the Houston Dynamo, Kamara scored 31 goals with 18 assists in 98 appearances with the Wizards/Sporting KC, including 87 starts.
He scored a team-high 10 goals with six assists in 2010, his first full season with the club, and tied for the team lead in 2011 with nine goals.
Kamara, who had four assists that season, posted career-highs in goals (11) and assists (eight) last season and also led MLS in shots (134) as Sporting KC won the Eastern Conference regular-season title for the second straight season.
“Obviously, he’s got a lot of familiarity with all the guys here and we welcome him back,” Heineman said. “He’s a player that we love and we’re really happy to give him the opportunity to go over there and see what we could make happen. I’m quite sure he will be back there soon, but in the interim we’re glad to have him back.”
Kamara entered Saturday’s Norwich City match as a 72nd-minute sub, but Heineman didn’t rule out the possibility the Sierra Leone international could return to action for Sporting KC as soon as Wednesday against the Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Park.