Sporting KC acquires striker Pulida from C.D. Guadalajara
By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Sporting Kansas City fulfilled its need for an elite striker Tuesday by swinging a deal with Mexican club C.D. Guadalujara for Alan Pulido, who signed a four-year contract with the Major League Soccer club after it paid a club-record transfer fee.
The 28-year-old Pulido has scored more than 100 goals for Guadalajara and the Mexican national team. He's been part of five domestic championships, helped his club to the CONCACAF Champions League title last year, and finished atop the Liga MX scoring list with 12 goals during the Apertura season this past fall.
"He is a winner, he has a terrific work rate and embodies all of the attributes we value at our club," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. "Alan is ready for this new challenge and looks forward to getting started with us on the field in January."
The club did not disclose the exact transfer fee, though it did acknowledge it was "multimillion dollars."
Sporting KC is coming off a season in which it failed to make the MLS playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. A big reason was its inability to score - top striker Kristzian Nemeth had just eight goals and the club did not renew his option.
Pulido should provide some immediate help.
Born and raised in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, he came through the heralded Tigres UANL youth academy before breaking into the first team as an 18-year-old in 2009. Pulido helped lead Tigres to the North American SuperLiga title that season, and later scored the decisive goal as Tigres won its first league championship in nearly 30 years in 2011.
Pulido briefly played with Greek club Levadiakos before transferring to powerhouse Olympiacos, where he scored six goals during the 2015-16 season and helped the club win the Super League title. He also competed in the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Champions League with the Greek club.
He returned to Mexico and C.D. Guadalajara in 2016 to begin another successful run that caught the attention of numerous MLS clubs. Ultimately, it was Sporting KC that won the bidding with a massive transfer fee.
The deal came one day after Sporting KC signed 26-year-old forward Khiry Shelton to a three-year deal that includes an option for 2023. Shelton returns to the MLS club after spending last season with German club SC Paderborn 07.
"Khiry is an experienced player who we are excited to bring back to the club," Vermes said. "As the 2020 season approaches, we will continue to strengthen our roster with signings on all three lines of the field."
Updated December 10, 2019